Summary: When we ask God to “lead us not into temptation” we are asking Him to guide our steps along a moral pathway.
Have you heard about the guy who was trying to lose weight, but came to the office one day with two dozen donuts?
His co-workers asked him why he got the donuts if he was trying to lose weight? He answered, “I came to the corner where the donut shop was, I told God that if He wanted me to buy some donuts, He’d have to provide a parking spot right in front of the donut shop. Well, God answered my prayer. On the eighth time around the block, there it was!”
The Bible tells us in the Lord’s Prayer “Lead me not into temptation” because the reality is; “I can find it myself”.
Take the "South Indian Monkey Trap"! It was developed by villagers to catch small monkeys and then to sell them. They would hollow-out a coconut, cut a small hole big enough for a monkey’s hand to slip into it, put some rice in it and chain it to a stake. Tempted by the rice, the monkey would reach its hand in, grab the rice and instantly be trapped. Why? Because the monkey stubbornly held on to the rice in its fist and was unable to pull its fist back out. Why? Because he values it.
The Bible tells us in the Lord’s Prayer “Lead me not into temptation” because the reality is “I can find it myself”.
When we ask God to “lead us not into temptation” we are asking Him to guide our steps along a moral pathway. Last week we learned about the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Now during that teaching, we focused on our past and present sins. This morning, we want to focus on future, potential sins that may very well happen to us.
When we pray this portion of the prayer, we’re not praying that the Lord not tempt us, because the Lord would never do that. James 1:13 says When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. What we are asking God for by praying “lead me not into temptation”, is for God to help us in the situations we will face. It is the cry of our heart that says, “Lord, you know my weaknesses. You know my tendencies and my predisposition. You know that I’ve done things that I am ashamed of and how easy it is for me to drift right back there again. You know my tendency to gossip. You know my predisposition to lose my temper, to get angry, to over spend, get down on myself, be a perfectionist and complain, to name just a few”.
Now why is this? The reason for it is that though we have been given a new nature in Christ. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Cor. 5:17 Each of us is like Dr. Jekyll and we all struggle with a Mr. Hyde on the inside; two opposing forces within us that pull for our allegiance. We have the self-willed and the self-centered part of us and we have the God-centered, spirit-driven side of us.
Eph. 4: 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.