We often feel that despite our best efforts, an outside force is compelling us to do the wrong thing. Jesus instruct us to pray that God leads us away from temptation.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – Matthew 6:13
This is not a call to plead with God to stop tempting you, He is not trying to trip you up by leading you into a place where you will fall to temptation. God takes no pleasure in seeing you in pain after falling to temptation and He rewards those who resist it out of their love for Him. God himself cannot be tempted by sin and He will not temp you to sin.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:12-15
There are some benefits to enduring trials in our life, but temptation to sin comes from our own desires. God may allow us to walk through difficult times and trials, but He allows this in order for us to grow and bring glory to His name. Even through those times, God will never allow us to endure more than He knows we can cope with.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:3,4
Your specific temptation to sin is very specific to you and will pull at your desires. That’s why temptation is so tempting. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, but God won’t allow us to be tempted above our capacity to resist even though we may fall sometimes. Even in those most difficult times, He makes a way out.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 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. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
One of the best ways to avoid falling to temptation is to pray before we go into a situation. If we are in the middle of something we know is wrong, but find hard to resist, then pray for the pathway out to be made clear, which He promises to give us.
In Matthew 6:13, Jesus instructs us to pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”. This is a sincere plea that we should be kept away from more temptation than we can resist. When we pray this prayer, we are saying ‘Lord I know I’m weak in so many areas, but keep me away from the things which will cause me to fall away from you’.
It may seem simple, but we must do all we can to avoid what tempts us to do wrong and even put in measures to ensure we are protected. This is not uncommon, many people who find it hard to resist spending money they don’t have, will cut up their credit card so that they cannot fall to temptation. Those who cannot resist over indulging on unhealthy foods or alcohol have to make a choice not to go to the places where this becomes too much to resist.
Whatever your tempted with today, turn to God in prayer and look for the pathway of escape He has put in place to deliver you from the evil one. We may feel weak and unable to resist, but God will strengthen us when we most need it. He is the king who has total control of His kingdom with all power and to His glory for ever.