How do we deal with temptation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
The Lord’s Prayer goes on to ask God to lead us not into temptation. As the joke goes, most of us are pretty good at finding it ourselves. Most of us when we get into temptation have usually got there by ourselves and we’re sunk by it. The first sign you are likely to fall to a sin is that you do not think you can fall to a sin.
“Sure, I love my wife, but it’s just lunch with this female co-worker and I’m not interested in it and we’re both having our break at the same time. What could go wrong? I’m safe.”
Then before too long they’re arranging to meet in a motel together.
“Sure. I can go and do a little bit of drinking. Yeah. I know I used to struggle with alcoholism, but that was years ago. One beer won’t hurt me.”
I have heard this story so many times. It always ends the same way. Years of sobriety go out the window at that point.
“It’s my Dad’s magazine collection and it’s always intrigued me. I’m sure I can handle whatever it is.”
Years later this boy is consistently looking at pornography on the internet. When he marries a woman finally, he has a hard time performing since his mind has been trained to not be aroused by ordinary women anymore.
“The family is in need. I can just cut a little off the books here at work. I’ll pay it back.”
The family is definitely in need years later when he goes to jail for embezzlement.
If we want to win the fight against sin in our lives, we have to ask to not be led into temptation because we know we are weak. If we think we can handle it in our own strength, then it is pride. If we have fallen into pride, then we have fallen into the chief sin and all the other sins will come easier.
This is one reason I have strong rules such as not riding in a car alone or being alone with women who I am not related to. If you are a woman contacting me, I will keep you at a distance to an extent because I do not want to risk ever doing anything to put another relationship between me and my own wife. If I think I cannot fall to that sin, I already have. Why risk it? What’s the gain in it?
Why should we ask God to not lead us into that? Because it not only damages us, but it damages the Kingdom. If we are seeking God’s Kingdom on Earth, our falling into sin makes it less likely that we will see that Kingdom advanced. Every time we sin, we are acting against the Kingdom and serving the other Kingdom instead.
Lead us not into temptation also acknowledges our own weaknesses. It forces us to say that we are not capable on our own. We depend on God for everything, which we do. It doesn’t matter how long we have been a Christian, we still need help. We will always need it.
May we not be led into temptation. May we also not find it on our own.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)