Friday, June 03, 2016

Temptation and Evil

"Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil."

Years ago, when I was co-teaching a book study class at my church, there was a class member who resented this phrase of the Lord's Prayer. "Why would we ever need to ask God to not lead us into temptation - God would not lead us into temptation." She had a point - I don't believe God would lead us into temptation. God doesn't need to do that; temptation is all around us.

We say things like, "I couldn't help myself," when we give into temptation. While there are no absolutes, do you believe that most of the time that either isn't true or we fail to allow God to help us? How is it that we fall into temptation?

First, I think often we do it little by little. We commit some small, inconsequential sin. And then the next one is bigger, and the one after that is bigger, still. It's like the story of the frog placed in a pot of room temperature water as someone slowly heats it up - little by little the temperature rises, and the frog doesn't notice. 

Also, I think we are experts at rationalization. We take something because we think, "They owe me that." We say a harsh word to someone, and think, "She deserved that because of what she did to me." We try to turn our sin into something defensible.

So what is the truth? Jesus is the truth. He came to save us from ourselves. God offers grace to save us from our sin. We pray, "deliver us from evil," because the battle against temptation is continuous, and God has saved us - will save us - is saving us.

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