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The Lord's Prayer (Lesson 10)
Lead Us Not into Temptation | Matthew 6:13
Lead Us Not into Temptation” – Matthew 6:13a
When driving on a long journey, it’s common to pray for “traveling mercies.”
This does not deny human responsibility in operating an automobile. It simply is an acknowledgement of a theological reality: God is sovereign over every detail of our lives.
While both are true, one has the priority, or is ultimate in the equation of responsibility and sovereignty.
All of life is like that, isn’t it?
We are morally responsible for our actions, but God is cosmically sovereign over those actions.
We are not puppets on the stage of history.
Far from it. We have free agency to do what we please when we want.
The problem is that the sinful nature (the flesh/sarx) is with us everywhere we go, seeking to influence everything we do.
And not the good kind of influence. Think little demon on the shoulder whispering kind of influence.
And so Jesus instructs us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.”
On the surface this sounds as if we have no control over the steps we take, places we go, or things in which we participate.
After all, aren’t we asking the Lord not to lead us in a certain direction, as if we are fully passive in the process?
No, that’s not what Jesus means.
Jesus is calling us to pray with self-awareness of our need, not only for justifying grace but for sanctifying grace. Something like, “Without your protective Spirit guiding me in the narrow way, I will make a wreck of my next decision.”
So, we pray, “Lead us not into the ditch.”
Just like many of us think we are better drivers than we really are, we think we're better people than we really are.
But one look at the cross undermines such an evaluation.
The Bible correctly diagnoses our human condition by calling us sinners. We’re not sinners because we drive into ditches. We drive into ditches because we are sinners. It is not primarily a problem of behavior correction but one of nature.
We. Just. Can’t. Help it.
From that perspective, we can see how this is a prayer of humility and dependence.
This leads us to some very good news.
Because Jesus was willing to endure the greatest trial of them all in crucifixion, we not only are fully forgiven but also are supernaturally empowered when temptations come our way–or when the flesh whispers, “Swerve.”
Praying “lead us not into temptation” is simply an honest confession of our prone to wander and need for the same grace to sustain us that has saved us
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