In this post, I’m continuing with the last line of the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. This should serve as a guide to our prayer times with the Lord.
“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
Luke 11:4 NIV
This line of the prayer is especially important for us to understand. We must first grasp the nature of temptation in the New Testament.
First, we must get rid of the cartoon version of temptation. We don’t have an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, trying to get us to obey them. When it comes to temptation, we’re sometimes our own worst enemy.
If you were reading this blog years ago, when I was going through the book of James, you may remember what temptation is. In Scripture, the words temptation, testing, and trial are all the exact same Greek word.
It’s a word that literally means a putting to proof by experiment or experience. Usually, the translators will use the word, temptation, in the context of testing by evil. A trial, on the other hand is a testing to do good by faith.
The fact is, the Lord will never try and test us by putting us in a position to possibly choose evil.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
James 1:13-14 NIV
This verse also makes it clear that we blame the devil for too much. It’s the desires of our own flesh that brings us to the point of temptation. Only through fasting and prayer can we turn down the voice of our flesh. But that’s a teaching for another day.
When you look at these two verses, James and Luke, there’s a very interesting contrast. James says that we drag ourselves away toward what our flesh desires. It’s like our flesh is pulling us along to where it wants us to go.
The phrase, deliver us, has a different emphasis. We’re literally asking God to draw us away toward Himself, from the evil. It’s like we’re standing in a fast-flowing river headed toward God’s will for us.
What we have to learn is that praying for God to deliver us from evil is not asking God to stop us. The choice is still ours. We have to decide which “pull” we’ll allow to take us.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
This verse is clear. God will never stop us from sinning. He will provide the exit strategy, but we have to be willing to take it. By the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we should be able to overcome in all situations.
God’s desire for us is that we live a life free from sin. He wants us to live above the dominion of our fleshly desires. But for that to happen, we need to trust Him to do the work in us. I know for a fact that I’m not strong enough on my own to walk in this victory.
It’s when we have a strong prayer life that we see this work being accomplished in us. That will require time.
This is why I went through this prayer of the Lord in great detail. I wanted to show the foundation for a life grounded in the power of God. Don’t neglect this great gift that we’ve been given. The Lord has purchased for us 24/7 access to the throne room of God.
It’s up to us to avail ourselves to the power and blessing that’s being held out to us. Take the time necessary to form an intimate relationship with your heavenly Father.
Question: What is the condition of your prayer life?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi