We have been walking through the Lord’s Prayer, the essential words Jesus gave his followers when he preached the Sermon on the Mount. Just the title makes it important to me: the Lord’s prayer. The Lord of my life, who came as a baby for me and lived a humble life for me, died on the cross and rose again for me. These are His words for me! As a young girl, I accepted Jesus as my Savior, and as an adult, I reaffirmed that in baptism. I have lived in salvation for most of my life. But was that salvation the solution to a trouble-free life? Absolutely not.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
— Matthew 6:13
In the beginning, the fall of Adam and Eve introduced sin and worldly ways. It introduced us to the concept of free will. From then until now, we have not been able to rid the world of sin, of the evils that seek to destroy us. The Bible teaches us that the devil, and through him the things of this world, and the systems built by people with sinful, imperfect natures are the forces that seek to destroy us. In salvation, we acknowledge that we are helpless alone and need Jesus as our Savior to intercede on our behalf as a sinner. God does not promise a life without struggle, but he does not lead us to temptation. He leads us through temptations when the devil shows up.
The Bible is full of examples of this. Moses and the Israelites were led through the Red Sea when evil was hot on their heels. Daniel was led out of the lion’s den alive after those who sought to destroy him threw him in. David escaped a sword fight with one single little rock. And even Jesus was led to the wilderness to spend time with his Father when the devil showed up with different plans. God led him through the temptations the devil hurled at him. We are helpless against evil without God. We need him to lead us on the path of righteousness and redirect our steps when we stumble over the evil bumps in the road.
Salvation is the solution to eternal life in Heaven. It is not the solution to a trouble-free life here on earth. We still have to rely daily on God to guide us, protect us, and deliver us from what seeks to destroy us through temptations. The more we live for God and the closer we draw to him, the closer the enemy moves in to destroy us. We have to cling to Jesus every day to ward off that evil. God has no evil in him, so he cannot put evil in our hearts. Only Satan can do that. It is only in our crying out to God not to let evil take us in that we are delivered.
Life will hold numerous temptations every day. Endless choices between right and wrong will come before us. We have to pray every day that God will hold us back from stepping into those temptations. Remember when you pray these words, there is a huge difference between “leading” and “tempting”. We are asking God to lead us away from temptations and deliver us from the evil that brings those temptations. As you pray these important words in the prayer Jesus gave us, take a moment to realize just how much he loved us to give us such perfect words to pray.