Lead us not into temptation - Does God tempt us?
"Lead us not into temptation" is a familiar phrase from the Lord's prayer. What did Jesus mean? Was He implying that God could lead someone into temptation?
James 1: 13-14 says, "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." We are always ready to shift the blame. If we cannot blame God for temptation, we will say his sin is a sickness so as not to face the judgment. Sin is not a sickness, but a moral failure and we will have to face judgment. We may also blame others or our circumstances, which are not the cause of sin either. Sin comes from within us. It comes from dwelling on temptations rather than driving temptations from our minds.
It is never God's desire for us to be led into sin. If we resist the devil, we are promised that he will flee from us. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Why would our Father in Heaven, who knows all things, lead us into temptation? 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "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." God doesn't tempt us, but He allows us to be put into situations where our faith is tested and strengthened.
Lead us not into temptation - A Christian's Reaction
Growing Christians can understand that circumstances are a means of exposing to us to our true character at any stage of our spiritual growth. The circumstances are not the cause of temptations.
It is also important to remember that we are unable to resist temptation without God's grace. We are called to trust the Lord (not ourselves) for strength to resist temptation before it becomes sin. It is not the temptation itself that leads us to sin, but the lack of resistance and trust in the Lord for deliverance.
Christ was human and He can identify with our struggles. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
As Christians, we are in a constant fight with the desires born of our sinful natures - should I please myself or God? We are in constant need of God's guidance so that our needs and desires are kept in proper balance.
Ephesians 6:10-18 instructs us to put on the armor of God: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
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