Somehow, January 2020 has come and almost gone. We spent the last Sunday of the month in the last sentence of the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13)

This last sentence is a plea to God for help. Help me, guide me, lead me, Lord. In a world that praises self-sufficiency, independence, human grit, will, and perseverance, this prayer turns it all on its head and teaches us that we are dependent on Him for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The first part of this last sentence acknowledges that there is an internal battle within our souls; a battle with what we desire, love, covet, worship, and adore. When our desire is misguided and directed toward the wrong thing, we are led into temptation and, if acted upon, we enter into sin. 

We are so human and often find ourselves loving the created thing more than the One who created. Our longing for love, meaning, contentment, peace, and joy is meant to be found in God first and the things of this world second. And when we reverse the order, we find ourselves in trouble.  

Our prayer is that God would protect us from ourselves, that He would help us recognize that sinful desires are only a distortion of what is good. Ask yourself, what am I most tempted by and why? What is it that my heart desires, and where am I trying to find that desire satisfied apart from God? Let God reveal that to you and may you surrender it to Him, so that you would not be led into temptation. 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

However uncomfortable it might be, however much you’ve tried to rationalize yourself out of accepting it, it doesn’t make it any less true. Satan exists. And his mission is to destroy God’s glory and image, most notably by destroying God’s image bearers – that’s you, me, and every person on this planet. 

In this portion of the prayer, we cry out for rescue. Deliver us, rescue us, save us from evil, the very thing that is trying to tear us away from what we need most – more of you, God.

The primary strategy of the devil is to deceive us. And he deceives us in two specific ways: temptation and accusation. 
According to Tim Keller, temptation hides God’s holiness. We are deceived into minimizing the wrong, excusing the sin, and ultimately neglecting God’s holiness, the very standard of what is right and wrong.  And accusation hides God’s love.

Accusation convinces us that because of our failure, we are too far removed from God’s grace and favor. We are worthless, pitiful creatures with no hope of help or healing, and God is disgusted with us, so we remain in darkness because we are too afraid to come to the light.  

Accusation and Temptation. This is the work of the enemy. 

But the work of our God is an undeserving, life-saving forgiveness. And the nature of our forgiving God who pardons sin gives us permission to be completely honest about our deepest failures and greatest faults. It’s not about excusing our failures, but owning them and recognizing God’s forgiveness in Christ that releases us from the burden and weight of our sin.  
Forgiveness of sin leads to freedom from sin.  

The attempt to “be good” and do the right thing, in order that God would accept you and forgive you, is the stuff of ~religion~. The gospel, on the other hand, is just the opposite. You are forgiven, accepted, and loved by God from the start. There is nothing you can do to earn it or deserve it; it’s a free gift of grace through faith in Christ. And from a place of acceptance, you respond in good works and obedience. 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The heart posture behind the prayer is to recognize that without God’s help, intervention, and leading, I will make ruin of my life. I know my own heart, brokenness, and temptation to do what is wrong. I need God’s deliverance, I need His salvation, I need His rescue, and I need His daily help and strength. 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)

[Watch the full message on our app or online:Lead Us to Life]

 

 

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