top of page

Lead us not into temptation

Matthew 6:13 reads: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." This is where we will end our journey through the Lord's Prayer. If you have not read previous posts, please be sure to check them out on the main blog page! We hope you have found this series helpful and enriching as you seek to deepen your understanding of this essential prayer of our faith.

Trials vs Temptations

How do we resist temptation? This is an essential question in Matthew 6:13.

Upon first reading this verse, it might seem like Jesus is suggesting that the Father might lead us into temptation. But is that really the case? Let's look at a text from James 1 to get a little more insight into the relationship of the Father and temptation.

James 1:2-15 NRSVUE

2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face various trials, consider it all joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7,8 For the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

9 Let the brother or sister of humble means boast in having a high position 10 and the rich in having been humbled, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when desire has conceived, it engenders sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.

So what is the difference between a trial and a temptation? From this passage in James, we can infer that a trial or test is something that God may allow to enter into our lives in order to give us the opportunity to continue to trust in Him.

A trial might be from God, and as James points out, we can rejoice in trials because they help us to grow! Even though they are usually difficult, that does not mean they are bad or that we should be discouraged when they happen. We know that we live in a fallen world; it is how we live and the choices that we make that can make a real difference.

Temptation, on the other hand, is never from God. James is very clear about this. Because God is without sin, God cannot be tempted, and therefore God cannot and will not tempt us. We are tempted by our own sinful nature and desires.

Jesus and temptation

Here is another piece of good news: Jesus not only sympathizes with our struggles of temptation. He understands them. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Before he went to the cross, Jesus even felt the temptation to not do the Father's will. Life is hard; Jesus gets it.

Hebrews 4:15 states that Jesus, our high priest, was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. Jesus is the example for us to follow. But look at what it says right after: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so we can receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Did you see that? Jesus' experience with resisting temptation is a doorway, not to judgement, but to grace and mercy. When we are tempted, we are able to confidently approach God to receive mercy and grace to help us through this temptation.

Deliver us from evil

We have established that it is our own desires, rather than God, that tempt us. So why does Jesus even say, "Lead us not into temptation?" This phrase helps us to recognize that, when it comes to resisting temptation, we need help. Ideally, we will stay far away from things that we know tempt us. God can be our strength in this pursuit.

At the same time, it is clear that while we live in an imperfect world, we will experience temptation. Dr. Tim Mackie rephrases the verse in this way: It’s as if Jesus was teaching, pray that you are led far away from temptation, but when it comes, pray that God would deliver you (so that you don't sin).

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul describes God's response to his weakness: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" It is not by our own strength that we can resist temptation, but through God's power over sin. The key is to recognize our own weakness and reliance on God for deliverance through any type of temptation of evil that we may encounter.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page