A Study of the Lord’s Prayer
Lesson # 7
“Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation,”
In the preceding petition “forgive us our debts,” the request was that sins already committed might be forgiven, but here we have a plea to be delivered from falling into new sins. The petition in the prayer is primarily for protection. It accepts the danger of temptation, acknowledges our deficiency in dealing with it, and asks for deliverance from it.
First, we need to establish what “lead us into temptation” means. It cannot mean that God is the prime mover behind all temptations. Nor can it mean that Christians can pray this prayer and be delivered from all temptation. God does not lead us into a life that is free from temptations. Rather, He teaches us how to look to Him for the necessary strength with which to deal with temptation appropriately.
The key to understanding what this phrase means is to understand that the word “temptation” has two meanings. It can mean to tempt with the goal of causing one to sin or it can mean a test or trial to prove the validity of one’s faith. Obviously God never tempts anyone with the goal of causing them to sin. James 1:13 tells us that, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (NKJV) God never tempts any one to evil, but he does test us. James had already explained earlier in the same passage (1:3-4) “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJV)
Others have already faced the same temptations we encounter. Paul explains, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;” (1 Cor. 10:13a). Paul also explains that God places limits on the test that we face, “ … but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (NKJV)
I. We must realize the reality of Spiritual Warfare.
We cannot be victorious over that which we do not understand. Being ignorant of the fact that there is a great spiritual battle being fought in our world does not erase that fact that it is true.
Spiritual warfare needs spiritual weapons. Temptation is not to be fought with human willpower. The way to resist temptation is to lean heavily upon God’s grace to strengthen and enable us to stand against the wiles of the Devil.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, tells us “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,” (NKJV)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (NKJV)
The apostle John says that the world is a trap that is made up of three things.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
1 John 2:15-16 (KJV)
There is the “lust of the flesh” - which means the desires of the flesh
There is the “lust of the eyes” – desiring the things that are not ours
There is the “pride of life” – involves putting self on the throne of our lives.
The Progression in temptation
1. False impression given by Satan that whatever wrong we are contemplating really is not that serious.
2. The temptation presents a picture of some action that in some way appeals to our inner needs. Satan makes us see something, or someone, or some situation which he is sure will appeal to our lives.
3. A desire is actively aroused.
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.(15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:13- 14 (NKJV)
4. We begin to toy with this idea. We play with it. We fantasize about it. It this point we have already begun to fall for Satan ruse.
5. We proceed to act on that what was presented to us. But the moment we give in we are dismayed and disgusted by our own defeat.
6. We try to hide our sin. We attempt to excuse or to conceal this matter from God and others. [principles drawn from W. Phillip Keller. A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer. Chicago: Moody Press, 1976.) pp. 132-133.]
II. We need to acknowledge our deficiency in dealing with temptation.
We need to remember, everyone is vulnerable to temptation, no one is above falling. No matter how old we are or how mature in the faith we are. Although the strength of certain temptations may diminish somewhat with age, we are never free from temptation as long as we live in this world.
There is a story that I believe perfectly illustrates this principle. “History records the fate of two men who were condemned to die in the burning days of Queen Mary. One of them boasted very loudly to his companions of his confidence that he would stand firm at the stake. He did not mind the suffering; he was so grounded in the gospel that he knew he would never deny it. He said that he longed for the fatal morning even as a bride for the wedding.
His companion in prison in the same chamber was a poor trembling soul who could not and would not deny his Master; but he told his companions that he was very much afraid of the fire. He said he had always been very sensitive to suffering, and he was in a great deal of dread that when he began to burn, the pain might cause him to deny the truth. He besought his friend to pray for him, and he spent his time in very much weeping over his weakness and in crying to God for strength. The other continually rebuked him and chided him for being so unbelieving and weak.
When they both came to the stake, he who had been so bold recanted at the sight of the fire and went back ignominiously to an apostate’s life, while the poor trembling man whose prayer had been “lead me not into temptation” stood firm as a rock, praising and magnifying God as he was burnt to a cinder.”
[as quoted by R. Kent Hughes. Abba Father; The Lord’s Pattern for Prayer. (Wheaton, ILL: Crossway Books, 1986.) pp. 92-93]
III. We need to ask for deliverance
We need to know how to pray for spiritual protection for ourselves. The Apostle Peter was powerful illustration of the danger of trying to stand against temptation in your own power. Jesus at the Last Supper taught the disciples that greatness was to be found through service. Right in the middle of this discourse, Jesus turned to Peter and said, “…Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. (32) But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV) Peter objected, “… Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” (22:33- NKJV) Jesus response was, “…I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (22:34 -NKJV). So much for victory in our own strength.
Luke goes on to tell us that Jesus went onto the Mount of Olives to pray just prior to his arrest. When they arrive, Jesus said to his disciples, “When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation” Luke 22:40 (NKJV).
Then just went a little further and knelt down to pray. He prayed for the strength to be able to with stand the suffering that the cross would bring. Returning, to his disciples, he found them asleep. He awakened them and said to them, “…Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation” Luke 22:46 (NKJV). Jesus told his disciples that their prayers were to play apart in how well they were able to face testing.
When we pray for God’s protection from temptation we are agreeing with the High priestly prayer of Jesus. He prayed, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15 (NKJV)