August 6, 2017

Our Father: Lead us Not into Temptation

Enter the Presence: In our adventure through the Lord’s Prayer, we are entering the last few laps. We’ve celebrated God’s glory as Holy and as Father. We’ve asked that God’s Kingdom be built and looked at our responsibility in building that kingdom. God gives us our daily sustenance, and asks us to join in him in forgiving one another, just as we are forgiven every moment of every day. Which of the exercises have you tried? Were they helpful?

Today we pray “lead us not into temptation”. We face the fact that we are tempted to do the wrong thing every day. With Paul every one of us can say, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Paul continues, “Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” I’m sure each of us at some time has been driven to sob, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” We want to do the right thing, but it seems like the more we try the worse it gets. However, Paul reminds us, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:15-25) Through Christ, we are redeemed from the wrong things we do.

In the Lord’s prayer we say, “Lead us not into temptation”. The truth is, God doesn’t give us temptations. We find plenty of those on our own. We may spend time watching cat videos instead of taking time to pray. It’s easier to join the gossip than to find something positive to say. Shaking our head over a problem is simpler than working for a solution. Every day we make choices. Some of them take us down the well-traveled road that everyone else takes. As Robert Frost suggests “I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference”.
Stand In Awe: Consider some of the citations for ‘road’ in the Bible, like these.  

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)

“A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.” (Isaiah 35:8)

The scripture promises that following God’s way, will be the way of joy and holiness. Jesus tells his disciples, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

When we pray ‘lead us not into temptation’, we are asking God to show us the proper path, the right road to follow. Probably it will be the ‘road less traveled’.

Sit with God and imagine what that road looks like in your life.

Involve your Heart: Think through yesterday. When did you give in to temptations to take the easier road?

What is your greatest temptation, the thing that lures you away from God’s path-power, social media, being likable…?

If there is a labyrinth nearby, take time to walk it thinking about how the path guides you without you having to determine which way to go. In the same way God guides your steps when you let God be in charge.*

This week focus on the phrase “Lead us not into Temptation”

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