Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Matthew 6:13
The Lords Prayer concludes with a curious phrase – we desire that He lead us in a certain way by asking where not to lead us – that is, into temptation.
Avoiding temptation and deliverance from the Evil One is basically the same thing. Satan holds sway over the world. As we’re told in 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” And one of Satan’s primary tactics to get folks to fall for that power is temptation. Every day seems to offer temptation after temptation, like bait on a hook, attempting to get our attention, arouse covetousness in our soul, and tempt us to turn, take the bait, fall into the trap, and be hooked, ensnared by the evil one.
So if we face daily temptation does that mean that our Father doesn’t answer this part of the prayer? We ask not to be led into temptation but that is the very place we go? Almost as soon as we say Amen, we look up and see a piece of tasty bait dangling in front of us like a shiny lure to a hungry smallmouth bass. Because it can sure seem like that is exactly what happens. Daily.
But notice, 1st John tells us that it is the world that is in the power of the evil one – you, on the other hand, ‘are from God,’ and removed from the captivity to the world that once ruled your life. As it says in Ephesians 2, “in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path… indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, But God… raised us up with him (Jesus) and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
And the demonstration is this – Your life is now “hidden with Christ in God”, sin no longer has dominion over you. There is nothing in and of itself that the evil one can throw in front of you to tempt you. If you do still have a lingering weakness, a sweet-tooth so to speak, you have to let it go. Let go of any remnants of worldly preoccupation that can arouse covetousness and temptation.
Our prayer that we are “led not into temptation” is a prayer to have a fully converted soul that is no longer preoccupied with worldly gain, but instead rests in a beautiful communion with God through Jesus Christ our Bread of Life.