Today’s Reading: Matthew 6:13 (HCSB)
Therefore, you should pray like this… And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Today’s Question: When are some times of the day that you are most tempted to sin?
At the very least, each person faces dozens of temptations each day. While we are tempted to do things God has forbidden, we also can sin by neglecting the calling to serve God faithfully.
We know that God cannot and will not tempt us to sin. To read the phrase “Lead us not into temptation…” is a mistranslation. [Technical point- … This is due to the fact that the verb eisphero is in the aorist tense which speaks of an effective action at some point in time. The active voice indicates the subject, in this case God, brings about the action, i.e., He either does or does not bring us into temptation. Finally the subjunctive mood is the mood of probability, which speaks of an action that may or should happen, but which is not necessarily true at present. (from preceptaustin.org)]. The better translation would be “Father, I ask you not to bring us into temptation at any point.”
Here’s a challenge: Keep a one day record of the number of times you are tempted to sin in one twenty-four hour period. You do not have to write these down, but keep a running total. You will be shocked and amazed at the number of times you will have to make a conscious decision to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God.
The barrage of temptations we face daily is the reason that the Apostle Paul viewed the Christian life as a battlefield. We have been equipped by God to win every battle and repel every flaming arrow of the enemy to our God. The problem, however, is that the assault is rarely anticipated. Satan frequently uses guerilla warfare, covert operations, and a spiritual ambush to tempt us. In other words, he hits us at times when we least expect or have become unaware of an opportunity to sin.
How can we be delivered from this continual onslaught of Satan’s scheme?
1. We must walk with God. This is a moment-by-moment decision. The minute I decide to live selfishly, fulfilling the desire of my flesh, I am an easy target for the tempting work of Satan. When I am focused on God and His will, I am under His shield of protection.
2. Be aware. Too many Christians live in ignorance to the spiritual war in which we are immersed. This would be like one who walked across the battlefield of Normandy on June 7, 1944 and was completely oblivious of the presence of gunfire or bombs. How much more danger could a person subject himself or herself to?
3. Be proactive. As you wake up each morning, make your first resolve to acknowledge the spiritual war you are facing during the day. Ask the Lord to protect you. But also, ask God to give you wisdom and discernment.
4. Recognize the places that you should not go. Sinful habits have cues. When Satan sees us edging close to a place, a person, or an object that may trigger a habit of a past sin, he pounces. There are some places we should not go, people we must avoid, and things that we just do not need to be around. When someone tells me they are strong enough spiritually to resist a particular temptation (that has previously been an issue), I become very concerned. This brother or sister in Christ does not understand the work of Satan nor the sin nature that lives within him (or her).
It is past time for us to get serious about sin and the destruction in our lives (and in the church!) that failure causes. Certainly, there is grace and forgiveness. “All have sinned.” But the point of Jesus is this: we do not have to succumb to sin’s power. We can be set free from not only the penalty of past sin (by salvation) but also the control of present sin in our lives.
“Follow One, Lead Others” Principle #35: Those following Christ are not immune to sin’s temptation, but they do have the power of Christ to say “no” to evil.
Today’s Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to lead you away from sin by giving you His wisdom and the gift of discernment. Ask Him to help you make this a daily commitment.