Read James 1:12–18

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.Matthew 6:13

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Both experiences have a spiritual equivalent reflected in the words of Jesus, whose prayer teaches us to cast ourselves upon the grace of God. “Lead us not into temptation,” does not mean “God, don’t tempt me.” In the book of James, we learn that God does not tempt us toward sin; it is our own corrupt desires that lead us astray.

The word temptation is actually best understood as “trial” or “testing,” and we’ve seen throughout this month’s study how the temptation to mistrust God and the occasion for sin frequently arrive in the midst of our difficulties. When Israel wandered through the desert hungry and thirsty, they looked for provision from sources other than God. They complained and despaired, failing to trust in God’s goodness and faithful provision.

Help me in my trials, Lord: these are words for admitting how prone we are to doubt. Deliver us from evil: this is our admission of our spiritual fragility in the face of evil and an evil one.

It’s ironic that emphasizing our weakness may be the very strength we need to help us overcome our times of trial and testing. Whoever thinks himself strong may be most vulnerable to temptation.

Apply the Word

Our passage from James assures us, “He chose to give us birth by the word of truth” (v. 18). The real consolation is that our salvation, which is so clearly God’s idea, will be accomplished. “Lead us not into temptation” is not just a desperate, tenuous plea. We would surely fail the testing were we left to our own defenses. But we are not!

Pray with Us

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