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And do not lead us into temptation (Matt 6:13)

This part of the prayer always seems a bit odd to me. Jesus, in teaching us how to pray to the Father gives us this phrase. It is great as a stand alone, but when I get to James 1:13 I scratch my head a bit.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (James 1:13 NASB)

It strikes me as odd that Jesus would instruct us to ask the Father not to temp us, when God is untemptable, and does not temp anyone with evil.

But as I ponder this, I remember that in Mark’s gospel, after the baptism of Christ I read this:

And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him. (Mark 1:12-13 NASB)

This word “impelled” some translations use the word drove. What is wild is that many of the time this word (impelled – Greek “ekballo”) is rendered ‘cast out’ as in the case of demons.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not the word used in our verse, but my point is that the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness to face satan’s temptation. (Clearly it is not the Father doing the tempting here, but God is clearly able to lead or put us in situations where our faith will come under pressure.

And by the way, it is OK to pray that He does not do that! In fact when you find yourself in a place of temptation there are clear instructions in the Book for that too!

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB)

Can you share the story of a time you faced temptation, and found that victorious grace in your time of need? Will you share it with us? Victory is contagious!

Thanks for reading today.


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