We eagerly wait for Jesus to return and fully establish his Kingdom upon the earth. Upon returning, Jesus destroys all evil (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-27) and puts all things under his feet (see Psalms 100:1). What an incredible day it will be when we witness everything in subjection to Jesus (see Hebrews 2:8).
Unfortunately, until that glorious day, we continue in this present age where we are exposed to many dangers that can bring harm, pain, and sorrow.
This present age remains under the influence of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2) and in rebellion to God’s rule and reign. Some of the harmful consequences we face in our fallen world include:
- Sickness and death
- Violent Crimes
- Demonic attacks
Therefore, Jesus, in the model prayer he provided, taught his followers to pray for God’s protection over their lives.
Pray: “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
This statement teaches us to seek God to help us through life by protecting us from or preserving us through times that the enemy intends to bring us harm. In this world, as children of God’s Kingdom, we must continually fight against sin and evil.
Our Battle Against Sin and Evil
Much controversy surrounds Jesus’ statement, “And lead us not into temptation.” Recently, the Pope stirred quite a controversy by altering the traditional wording of the Lord’s Prayer to “do not let us fall into temptation.”
The difficulty arises in that the word “lead” bothers many people because it seems to suggest God is the active agent in tempting us. However, such an interpretation is in direct conflict with other Scriptures, such as James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” God will never tempt us to sin.
Notice, the second part of Jesus’ instruction on prayer, “but deliver us from evil.” Again, the Greek word structure is a bit confusing here, and the word can be translated as “evil” or “evil one.” It is the evil one who tempts us. Just as the Devil tempted Jesus in the wildness, so the Devil tempts every one of us.
Also, on the eve of his betrayal, Jesus brought his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus, in great sorrow and stress, took Peter, James, and John with him to keep watch as he went a bit further and prayed. After pouring out his heart to God, Jesus returned to the three and found them sleeping. After waking them up, Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Therefore, Jesus is teaching us as believers to pray for God’s protection from sin and evil. John Stott translates Jesus’ instructions as, “Do not allow us so to be led into temptation that it overwhelms us but rescue us from the evil one.”
Protection: Preventing and Preserving
By praying for God’s protection over our lives, families, and friends, I am referring to God’s ability to either prevent situations from happening or preserving us through trials and tribulations.
Some things in life can be avoided. Part of my prayer is “Father, spare me from temptations, tribulations, and troubles!” We can ask God to hedge us from evil. We see the reality of this in the story of Job when the Devil told God, “Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” (Job 1:10). The purpose of a hedge is to protect by preventing things from getting in. I am all for God safeguarding my family and me by preventing evil from entering our lives.
However, as Jesus stated, in this world, we will experience tabulations, troubles, hardships, and sufferings.
Unfortunately, not all evil can be avoided; yet, God still protects us by preserving us through the trials and temptations.
With every temptation that comes against us, God is faithful, and he provides a limitation and a provision. The apostle Paul writes, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
1. God is always faithful.
When we battle temptations, one of the tactics of the enemy is to make us feel as if we are all alone. Satan wants us to believe that God is not with us during our times of temptation.
But the Bible reveals a different picture – that is, the Lord is intimately involved in every temptation.
The Lord will never leave you or forsake you – even amid temptation.
Never again believe the lie that the Lord becomes angry or distant from you when you are in the middle of temptation. Even during our battle with temptation, we can cry out, “Jesus, help me. I need you.” God is faithful!
2. God never allow temptations to exceed our ability to resist
The first way that God is faithful is that he provides a limitation. That is, God actively limits the temptation not to exceed your ability to resist with the help of the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though temptations are powerful and seek to overpower you, they are not as strong as you are in Jesus Christ. Remember, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Saying “No” to temptation will not be easy, but it will always be possible.
3. God always provides a way of escape against every temptation.
The second way that God is faithful is that he provides a provision. With every temptation you face, God always provides the way of escape so that we may come through without falling into sin.
Making It Personal
Take time throughout your day to pray to God, “Do not allow me so to be led into temptation that it overwhelms me but rescue me from the evil one.”
Through Christ, you can withstand every temptation you face!