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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

by Tom Stewart
June 29, 2001

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:13) means, Help us not to sin, i.e., not to succumb to temptation, and thereby sin. Jesus implied that everyone, including His Human Self, has tendencies of habit, circumstances of the flesh, and predispositions of circumstances in the world, that will inevitably cause us to sin unless identified and countered by a strength of God's character, that can be claimed in faith as a Promise. "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour [literally, help] them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18). For instance, if I understand that I have a tendency to lose my patience with a certain person in a familiar circumstance, i.e., the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (12:1), then it behooves me to seek by prayerful searching of the Word for a revelation of the LORD's strength of patience, that the Holy Spirit may apply to me, should the circumstance arise yet again. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3). Further, Christ Jesus "pleased not Himself" (Romans 15:3), leaving me the example of patience "for our learning" (15:4); thereby, holding forth the opportunity that the "God of patience and consolation [would] grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus" (15:5). This is the anatomy of praying not to be led INTO temptation. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that ye should follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21). [See our article, "What the Bible Says About Temptation" ---New Window, for an amplification of this subject.]

If we are to be holy, we must not be continually falling prey to sin.
"Follow peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). And, if we seek not to be caught perpetually in the teeth of sin, we need to be continually claiming Promises in prayer not to succumb to temptation. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is Faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13). Christians underestimate the necessity of prayer in overcoming temptation, perhaps because they incorrectly assume that God's unwillingness that we commit any kind of sin, prevents Him from allowing the world, the flesh, or the Devil to tempt us. Remember, Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). The purpose of God allowing temptation is to get us to turn to Him for help. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need" (4:16). [R. A. Torrey's "How to Pray" ---New Window gives insight into the basics of prayer.]

Our LORD Jesus Christ was allowed by the Father to be tempted in the wilderness by the flesh (i.e.,
"2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the Tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread" [Matthew 4:2-3]), and to be tempted by the world (i.e., "8 Again, the Devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me" [4:8-9]). The LORD Jesus countered and overcame the temptation by resorting to the help of the Word of God each time, i.e., "It is written" (4:4, 7, 10). Our victory over temptation is no different. You must also "resist stedfast in the faith" (1Peter 5:9) before Satan "will flee from you" (James 4:7). If the Father saw fit to allow His Only Begotten Son to be tempted, to benefit us by the example of Jesus overcoming by actively and purposely depending on the Word of God, then the Father will also allow us to be tempted to glorify Himself by our overcoming temptation. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13). Also, remember that the Apostle Peter denied the LORD Jesus after he failed to avail himself of the opportunity to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, because he was tired and did not see the need. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not INTO temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). [Read our next editorial, "What Happened in Gethsemane?" ---New Window for more concerning this.]


Tom Stewart

Related Topics:

Victory Over Temptation ---New Window

He Will Subdue Our Iniquities ---New Window

Exceeding Great and Precious Promises ---New Window

The Relations of Christ to the Believer ---New Window by C. G. Finney

In Christ Jesus ---New Window by A. T. Pierson

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