Congratulations! In our study of the Lord’s Prayer, we’ve made it through boot camp. We’ve honored God’s name and asked for His perfect will to be done. We’ve turned to Him for our daily provisions. We’ve confessed our sins and asked for a forgiving spirit. Surely, now we’re equipped to go forth. Aren’t we?
Go forth to what? To an easy life settled in our comfy church pews? Aren’t we supposed to enjoy the freedom of living for God? Absolutely! But no one told us we’d have to fight to protect it. And yet, the truth is this. As long as we’re this side of heaven, we’re at war with God’s enemy. The more we want to live for God, the more the enemy hates us. The more we love God, the greater his efforts to thwart our devotion.
Jesus’ victory over sin and death secured our destiny with God. The enemy has lost the battle for our souls. But he continues to wage war against our minds. How? By deceiving us and tempting us to follow our own desires rather than God. How then do we win our daily skirmishes with temptation?
First, we pray. Prayer is our #1 weapon against falling into temptation. (Matthew 26:41)
Jesus didn’t give us the Lord’s Prayer to merely recite as a ritual. He gave it as a blueprint for living and preparation for life’s battles. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is the cry of our hearts for God’s guidance and protection.
Second, we claim God’s promises. Scripture assures us God doesn’t tempt anyone. He does promise He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. And He will provide a way for us to stand up under it. (I Corinthians 10:13)
Third, we trust the One who was tempted in the same way we’re tempted. And we deal with temptation the same way He did.
How was Jesus tempted?
- to meet His physical needs with His supernatural power, rather than trust His Father for a higher purpose.
- to impress others with His abilities and influence, rather than sacrifice Himself to serve out of love
- to compromise His allegiance to His Father’s plan by worshipping the devil.
We might ask ourselves the following questions.
- Are we ever tempted to meet our physical needs our own way? Or do we trust God’s purpose for meeting our needs His way?
- Are we ever tempted to seek attention, accolades, and affirmation? Or are we willing to serve God and others with no selfish expectations?
- Are we ever tempted to compromise our faith in order to gain worldly prizes?
If I’m honest, my answer to all those questions is yes. How about you? When we do fail, thank God there is forgiveness. But the real victory is we don’t have to fail. Thankfully, we have the privilege of dealing with temptation as Jesus did. How? with the authority of God’s Word. By the way, it’s okay to get angry with the devil and tell him just where to go. When Jesus had had enough, that’s what He did.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:10
Can’t you feel His anger and hear His authority? Do you remember what happened next? The devil had no choice; He left Jesus. (with his proverbial tail between his legs, no doubt) And then, the angels came and ministered to Jesus.
Have you had enough? Are you tired of the enemy’s wily schemes? Aren’t you glad we know the One who can lead us away from temptation? Aren’t you relieved to know we can trust Him to deliver us from evil?