Matthew 6:13 — And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Have you ever gone on a diet or endured a period of fasting? Both practices are the purposeful restricting of your diet. You only allow yourself particular foods or prohibit yourself from any. This is easy to do when you’re planning it on a full belly. But doing with an empty stomach is hard. When our bodies are hungry, they give us many signals and impulses that it is time to eat. Our stomachs growl. We feel hunger pangs. Our sense of smell elevates.
The hardest part is when we are hungry and get into proximity of food. If you are dieting, but you attend a party with lots of appetizers and finger foods, you are tempted to just give in. The food looks good, the impulse is strong, and the ability to eat the right way is more difficult. The same happens on a fast. Someone offers you food or inquires about whether you want to go eat (not knowing you are fasting), and you are forced with a decision. Eat or not eat.
These experiences of desire to choose against prior commitments we made or beliefs we hold are temptations. Temptation is the desire for something we know we’re not supposed to have or indulge in. Our passage today points us to this reality. The Lord’s Prayer contains a petition that God would lead us not into temptation. We should ask specifically in prayer for the grace of restraint. We ask God to help us and keep us from temptations that emerge around us.
We are prone to sexual temptation, over-eating, fits of anger, jealousy, gossip, greed, pride, and so many other things. Each day tempts us with actions, words, and thoughts that the Lord has forbid us from engaging in. There are many things we desire to do on impulse that we are called to put to death. We need deliverance, and specifically, we need deliverance from the evil one. Satan is the tempter. He prowls and roams, seeking the vulnerable to devour. Make your prayer today that the Lord will lead you not into temptation but would deliver you.
Reflection & Journal:
- What kind of temptations do you face the most in your life?
- How does God help us and lead us away from temptation?
- What are some practical ways each day we can fight against giving way to our temptations?