Lead Us Not Into Temptation but Deliver Us From Evil – Part Two

Matthew 6: 3

The Greek word for temptation, “peirasmos,” can properly be translated to tempt to do evil, and also do not allow us trials or heavy burdens. Since it is possible to be used in both senses it is proper to consider it from both angles. 

This single line from the Model Prayer Jesus used as a teaching tool reveals much about God. There is reason to rejoice over the fact God leads us. Here is good news: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10: 13) He who limits your load knows your load limit.

We know from James 1:13 that God does not tempt us to sin. If God did tempt us to sin, He would be acting contrary to His holy nature, against His desire for us to be holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:16) 

The inclusion of a request for God not to lead us into temptation teaches us that avoiding temptation should be one of the primary concerns of the Christian life.

This portion of the Model Prayer is in keeping with the fact we have an ability to avoid temptation. That means we have a tendency to some degree to yield to temptation. He will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist the temptation. He has the ability to shield and protect us.

He allows trials for the same reason a bodybuilder lifts weights to build his body. In doing so he is testing his body to develop. In the same manner trials are allowed that by resisting them we may grow stronger in the faith. Properly responded to they develop us spiritually.

“I count it all joy when I fall into various temptations; knowing this — that the trying of my faith works patience.” (James 1: 2, 3)

If the temptation in the Lord’s Prayer refers to trials, then the meaning of Matthew 6:13 is, “Do not afflict or try us.” It is not wrong to pray that we may be delivered from trials and suffering, as long as we yield ourselves to His will.

David prayed a similar request: “Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.” (Psalm 141: 4) In all things, God is our deliverer, and we are wise to seek His power over sin.

The prayer that God would deliver us from evil has a counterpart in the command with a promise: “Resist the devil and He will flee from you.” That can’t be possible if we try to do it in the energy of the flesh. The first part of that verse tells how it is made possible, “submit to God.” (James 4: 7)