The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"From Temptation. Or With The Temptation."
"The same may be true in our lives regarding trials of temptation. We may avoid some by praying 'Lead us not.' But some may be impossible to forego if our Father's will is to be done."
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ teach us to pray, "Lead us not in temptation?" (Matthew 6:13). The answer may lie in that He Himself was led into temptation.
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil" (Matthew 4:1).
The Lord commanded that we pray to avoid a challenge He experienced. Considering our calling to "walk, even as He walked," how do we interpret and respond to this particular guidance in praying about temptation? (I John 2:6). First, let us remember that God does not Himself tempt anyone to sin.
"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).
Our Heavenly Father has no direct involvement in instigating either temptation or sin. He cannot, based on the pristine moral nature of His character. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). The Holy Spirit led the Lord Jesus into the arena of temptation, but He did not cause the devil's enticements. God knew what awaited His Son in the wilderness, and had purpose in leading Him there. We can be sure He took no pleasure in seeing His Son suffer so greatly that angels were required to minister to the Lord Jesus when the trial ended (Matthew 4:11). However, His purposes made necessary the challenge, as will be the case with us at times. Herein lies a ray of light that illuminates our inquiry regarding our Lord's command that we pray, "Lead us not into temptation."
"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion… the Lord is very pitiful" (Psalm 145:8; James 1:11).
Like our Savior, there will be times when we must enter into challenging venues of temptation. There may also be times when we can avoid such experiences by praying, "Lead us not into temptation." The Lord's command that we pray accordingly may well be the fruit of His compassion for us, and His knowledge of what we will undergo in times of extreme temptation. During His challenge in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." We also may rightly pray to be led away, rather than unto challenge. It was not possible, of course, for the Lord Jesus to avoid the cup of sorrow that awaited Him, and He submitted accordingly. "The cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (Matthew 26:39; John 18:10). The same may be true in our lives regarding trials of temptation. We may avoid some by praying "Lead us not." But some may be impossible to forego if our Father's will is to be done. The Lord Jesus called us to pray accordingly, again based on His own experience and His great love for us whereby He would have us avoid any challenge from which we can be delivered, while nevertheless being willing to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance into any wilderness that must be faced.
God provides grace for either contingency. If led into the wilderness, He will await us there with strength to overcome. "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" (I Corinthians 10:13). At other times, His Spirit may lead us away from venues of challenge because we prayed accordingly. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations" (II Peter 2:9). In either circumstance, He works according to His eternal purpose in Christ, and for our ultimate best interests. We pray accordingly, as our Lord commanded - "Lead us not into temptation." We submit accordingly if His purposes require that we face the challenge, as He exemplified - "Not My will, but Thine be done." He will be with us either way, and will administer His deliverance from the wilderness, or within it.
"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles."
"For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
(II Corinthians 12:8-9)
Weekly Memory Verse
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).