And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
Have you ever prayed this verse before? You probably have. I know I have. It’s a part of what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” By the way it’s worded in the King James Version, it sounds kind of like God would lead us into temptation. Not so! The Bible plainly tells us that God tempts no one…“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” (James 1:13 NLT)
The verse from Matthew 6 in the New Living Translation reads this way, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” And listen to the verse in The Message Bible…“Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.” I kind of like that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed, “Father God, save me from myself!”
I know you’ve heard the old saying coined many years ago…“The devil made me do it!” Well, for one thing, it’s not very likely that the devil or anyone else could make you do something that you sincerely didn’t want to do. Now you may know that it’s not the best thing for you. You may WISH that you didn’t want to do it. You may even pray for the strength NOT to do it. But if you don’t exert some restraint on your part, it’s likely that you WILL do it. Even the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest men of all time, who wrote most of the New Testament said this...“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:21-25a)
Don’t get me wrong, God will help you if you really rely on His strength and draw from the power of His Holy Spirit within you. Paul plainly says so. But the fight between good and evil is an age old battle that will not be abated until the end of time, when Satan’s ultimate defeat is enforced and he is banned from roaming the earth.
But Jesus didn’t leave us defenseless when He returned to heaven. He gave us weapons of warfare that we can use very effectively. “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT)
We definitely are in a consistent battle with a very persistent enemy every day of our Christian lives. Some days maybe more so than others. God’s Word tells us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8 NLT) Then He gives us the antidote in James 4:7, “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 AMP) We resist him by putting on our armor and “having done all to stand, we stand firm!”