“Lead us not into temptation” is part of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:13. We have likely repeated that phrase so many times that we say it rote with little or no thought or reflection. It merits much-more-serious attention. Yielding to enticements that cause us to sin or disobey the commandments of God and the teachings of Jesus can have disastrous results. It has drastically affected mankind since the beginning of human history.
Eve was tempted by the serpent to disobey God’s strict command and eat fruit from the tree of knowledge because it “was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3: 6, NIV). How succulent it must have seemed. She decided to try it and then share it with Adam. We have suffered the drastic consequences of their disobedience ever since.
Temptations are all around us today. In fact, they may come looking for us. Satan knows our weaknesses and wants to destroy us by having us confront temptations and yield. So how do we deal with them effectively?
We really should be praying “lead us away from temptation.” Proverbs is full of sayings that we should not hang around with evil people. In 1 Corinthians 5: 13, Paul tells the Corinthian church congregation to “expel the wicked person from among you.” Alcoholics should not keep bottles of booze in their closets, go to bars or associate with drunkards. As a good example of escaping temptation, I recently read about the case of a married manager that fired his secretary because he was becoming too tempted to begin a sinful relationship. She sued to keep her job (and her man) but the courts upheld his decision.
We can submit our will to God’s will, pray that He takes away our addictions and temptations, and let the Holy Spirit take charge. I have personally experienced the elimination of temptations in this way. I have heard numerous testimonies of the disappearance, from one moment to the next, of addictions to drugs and alcohol that destroy our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
We must have firm values from the start, stick to them completely and communicate them clearly. I personally lost two multi-million-dollar job opportunities because I adamantly put “zero corruption” as an obligatory part of the proposal. I don’t regret the lost opportunities in the slightest. I might mention that my two would-be bosses are now in jail. Once we are in the midst of a tempting situation, it is not easy to escape. I know of several devout Christians that got into lucrative jobs with illicit potential. They planned to remain clean, but they fell disastrously within a matter of months.
Perhaps we have had in our minds the saying: “Just a little bite won’t hurt.” Unfortunately, a nibble becomes a mouthful and soon the whole cake has been devoured. Big sins don’t happen all at once. They follow a process of deterioration and growing callousness. This reality has led to the “broken windows” system of justice which seeks to nip the problem in the bud.
Despite our most arduous efforts, we are all sinners. In the Lord’s Prayer we are therefore to ask for the forgiveness of our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Then we try to avoid the temptations and the repetition of our errors in the future.
The Union Church of Guatemala
Dr. Ralph Porter
Women's Ministry President
Union Kids Director
AM Worship Coordinator