In The Lord’s Prayer we ask, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Have you ever wondered what that means? Lead into temptation? James 3:13-14 (ESV) says,
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. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
We must know God’s intentions before we dive any further. God does not create temptation. He tempts no one. However, He does allow us to encounter it. Let’s look at why.
First, without temptation we would never know our weaknesses. If you lived in utopia where you never experienced anything but ecstatic bliss, you would never be able to pinpoint the places in your life that required the hand of God. In Romans 3:23 we are reminded that everyone falls short. To think we have arrived at strength (in ourselves) is pure heresy. We are flawed people, but it is in our brokenness God can use us. For His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Second, without temptation we would not recognize the need to be proactive in our relationship with the Lord. Now is not the time to become lax in our spiritual walks! No! Rather, we must DAILY put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of peace, and never walk out the door without the helmet of salvation. Temptation reminds us of the vigilance it takes in our daily walks to be ready for the enemy who prowls around like a Lion looking for whom he can devour. It is a real battle, and one we cannot sleep through and survive. Our anointing, our families and our very lives are dependent upon our commitment to Him.
Third, temptation forces us into a position of trust and dependence upon God. When we face trials we understand to a greater extent just how valuable it is having the God of the universe on our side. If we never encountered things that make us uncomfortable, we would never understand what a cherished gift we have in Him fighting for us. God longs for us to draw near to Him, and promises when we do - He will draw near to us. It is a beautiful cycle that leads us into a place of overcoming.
Finally, without temptation, we would never understand the principle of starving the flesh and feeding the spirit. Every year, around January, our church participates in a corporate 21-day fast. It is a powerful time where miracles happen. It is not a new ritual, but rather an old one. Jesus himself believed in this and there is deep power when we give up our wants and desires in effort to prioritize Him.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
We all face daily temptations. Many of them will go unnamed and unidentified if we are not proactive in seeking them out. Do you find yourself comparing your life to others on social media? That may be a temptation for you. Maybe you have a wandering eye, or spend money flippantly on shoes. The fact is everyone struggles with something. The key to finding freedom and growth is to acknowledge those things, repent of them, and seek the heart of Christ. Do that, and He promises that you will be an overcomer.
For His is the kingdom, and the power and the glory. Forever and ever!