“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13). I had an issue with this verse for a long time. I thought, “Why is Jesus saying that? God wouldn’t lead us into temptation! But wait, the Spirit led Jesus into temptation.” “So, I guess He would lead me too.” So then I would pray, “Lead me not into temptation unless it’s part of my training.” And I went with that for years. Then I heard our Pastor Wayne Hager at Zion Family Ministries preach on this in a series on prayer. He said, “Yes, God did lead Jesus into the wilderness but that was Jesus, not us.” It was part of God’s plan for Jesus and, ultimately, His plan for us. And another thing I was made aware of; the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, not into temptation. There’s a difference. Sure, there was temptation in the wilderness, but Satan took care of that part. But Jesus knew the Word and how to resist the devil’s temptations. It’s similar to the story of Job. “All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” (Job 1:12). God ALLOWED Job to be tested but He was with him all the way.
God will allow us to be tested and, most of the time, the test or temptation will come from our own choices! “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” (James 1:14). You know what I’m talking about! And, think about the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), we are tempted there but, “Thou art with me,”. God will always be with us.
So, maybe our prayer should be, “Lead us not into temptation but when we choose to go off on our own, deliver us from evil.” I can see myself on the path with Jesus and I’m tempted to take a side path to something the devil has enticed me with. Jesus says, “Don’t go there!” I glance at Him but go off anyway as He rolls His eyes and shakes His head. Can you identify? But, secretly, Jesus goes with me into that wilderness and, when I realize my mistake and cry out to Him, He delivers me from evil! I can’t understand that kind of love but it’s there. Follow Him!