We all have times when we wrestle with temptation. We can be left wondering why we have these feelings and what can be done to avoid them. The biggest problem with temptation is that it is just so tempting. There are times when it is a massive struggle to avoid falling to it. Immediately after Jesus was baptised, He was lead out into the wilderness to be tempted, but did not fall to any of the temptations. He was offered wealth, adulation and authority, but rejected everything and defiantly commands the tempter to go.
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” – Matthew 4:10
We may not always feel strong enough to reject all the tempting things which come our way. The best way to avoid giving into temptation, is to avoid the temptation itself. Jesus instructs us to pray exactly that in His model prayer.
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
Jesus knew that we will all have times when we are tempted to pull away from the perfect standard He set. God understands our weaknesses and how easily we can fall to sin or be tempted to give up in our Christian walk.
When we pray, ‘lead us not into temptation’, we are pleading with God to guide us and sustain us through those times when we are tempted to stray, so we do not fall. This is not a plea for God not to tempt us.
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.
Our own desire tempts us, but sometimes it seems to start in all innocence and we find it hard to know if those things we are thinking about will eventually lead us to sin. So how do we know if the thing we are thinking of doing is bad. The answer is pray about it and genuinely ask God’s opinion. How comfortable are you in asking God’s blessing on what you are about to do? Some things are more obvious than others, such as, Lord I’m about to go out and get drunk, or steal money would you be able to bless that? Some things are harder to see, but we can avoid a lot of issues by praying in this way. If you don’t expect God to bless something, then don’t do it.
Above all, we are not alone and we can turn to Christ Jesus in our time of temptation, because He understands how it feels. He felt the pull of temptation and knows how to resist it.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:15,16
If you ever feel tempted, or hopelessly trapped in sin, there is deliverance in Christ. Don’t be afraid to come to God, He understands our weakness and will pull us out of the mess we are in, then gently bring us back to where we should be. God can be trusted to deliver us, because it’s His kingdom, His power and the glory, not just for now, but FOREVER.