…And lead us not into temptation; …” – Luke 11:4 KJV
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The disciples of Jesus Christ had asked him to teach them how to pray. This is an unusual request which likely could have been the result of several records of failure in their lives. While Jesus may have told them it is either because they are not praying or they are not praying properly, they would probably have agreed with the fact that they are not praying properly since they believe they are praying in the best way they know hence their request to be thought how to pray – Lk. 11:1. The scripture today is part of his response to them. In that scripture they were to plead with God not to lead them into temptation. What is clear from the above scripture is that:
1. The disciples even though they have Jesus Christ as their Lord could still be tempted.
2. That it is possible to be led into temptation by anyone including God.
Temptation is a strong desire to do something especially one that is wrong or unwise. Probably, next to acts attributed to the devil in terms of rating, temptation is the greatest reason that people, Christians inclusive give for many of their negative acts. Most lives are in a mess today because of actions taken and subsequently regretted only for either the devil or temptation to be blamed.
So why will Christ be asking the disciples to pray that God does not lead them into temptation? Firstly, what needs to be made clear is that Christ did not tell them to pray that “God should not tempt them” because as we all know, God does not tempt – Jms. 1:13. God may test someone but will never tempt. To test is to determine the suitability of one for a reward but to tempt is to deceive one into an act with an unreal or short-lived reward accompanied by an unmentioned negative. The reward serves as the cover for the greater negative that will eventually lead to regrets of unimaginable proportion. God indeed tests but the devil tempts.
However, God can lead a Christian through temptation if the Christian allows the desire for a false reward to overwhelm God’s intention or plan for his/her life. A Christian forcefully requesting for something and determined to have it, without minding God’s position on it, but accepting the offer of the devil on that issue is already on the path of temptation. God has the ability to stop the person with little or no effort but once he allows the person to have his/her way, He has actually led such a person into it despite the fact that he knows that the end thereof is destruction.
The case of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is an example. It may not necessarily mean that God is not aware of what had happened when he came asking for the whereabouts of Adam. It could just indicate His willingness to continue to relate with Adam despite his transgression, though not in the same manner as before the act resulting from their being successfully tempted. It was Adam and his wife that hid from God. Allowing them to do it when he could have stopped them was leading them into carrying out an action that was governed purely by a strong desire to have a reward that was not real or at best not permanent, with all its attendant negatives, which may not be obvious to the person at the time. The result is a high level of regret by the now victim of temptation, something that could have been avoided.
Christians need to pray always that God remains their guide at all times in all situations just as Jesus Christ advised and will need to avoid unnecessary acts of seeking independence from God because God will not enforce any situation on man since man now knows what is good and bad – Gen. 3:22. Your refusal to accept His opinion on that situation and His decision to allow you have your way may seem like God respecting your wish but it is only the devil deceiving you. The devil will eventually come to laugh at you. Christians need to always plead with God not to allow them carry out any act that will make them satisfy an intense desire over something that he does not wish to grant them. He has the ability to stop whatever he does not want a man to do but will not do so in order to respect your right to make a choice and unless you surrender that right to choose what is right or wrong to him voluntarily in prayer, He will not stop you from carrying out that act which is being led by your desire.
As long as you are human, you will always have desires as this has nothing to do with being a born again Christian or not. That thing you are anxiously desiring needs to be allowed to happen in God’s time and in His own way by you, if it will happen at all. That is the only way one can avoid regrets over steps taken. If steps have already being taken and there is already much to be regretted, then praying to God to prevent you from continuing to execute those plans of yours that do not have his approval can help you to stem the tide but that is if you plead for forgiveness for operating outside His Will and then letting him know that you want him to prevent you from acting out your temptation linked thoughts henceforth. For as long as you continue on this prayer line, you can be sure that there will be no more regrets in your life again.
May God not lead us into temptation in Jesus name. Amen