The Lord’s Prayer, Sixth Petition
And lead us not into temptation.
Lead us not into temptation.
What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.The Sixth Petition
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I’m tempted by chocolate and ice cream and pizza. What comes to your mind when you hear the word temptation? If you asked your students, what would they say were their temptations? Copying answers from their neighbor or breaking classroom rules? All of these are temptations to sin.
Have you seen those TV show experiments where they tell a child not to touch whatever is on the table and then they put him in a room alone with the banned object and watch him on hidden camera? Sure enough, most of the kids touch the off-limits object. We are by nature sinful. It doesn’t take much tempting to make us sin.
God is not like the folks behind the hidden camera, telling us not to touch something just to see if we’ll succumb to our sinful desires when we think He’s not looking. God does not tempt us. This is not the kind of temptation that Jesus is talking about in this petition. We are asking for more than just protection against things we shouldn’t touch.
In this petition we are praying that our faith would not grow cold. That the sins of our flesh would not lead us away from our Savior. That our despair over the sins of this world would not carry us away from Jesus. All those things are dangerously possible and oh so terrifying and a much bigger deal than too much ice cream or pizza. You can imagine how horrible it would be to be disconnected from your Savior. Do your students understand that? Do they know the great protection that they are asking for here? Do they realize the great protection this prayer affords?
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. 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 Corinthians reminds us that we are not alone in our temptations. We are not the first one to be tempted in such a way and our God, who is so faithful, will not let us be tempted beyond what we can endure. We live in a broken world. Every day I’m reminded of this. Every day I’m reminded of my own sins and how I fall so far short. But every day I’m also reminded that I have a Savior who has washed away those sins and who protects me from the wily ways of the evil one. Every day I pray “and lead us not into temptation,” knowing with full confidence that God will not lead me into temptation that takes me away from Him.
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