Matthew 6:13 “… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (or the evil one)”.
How does one conquer the forbidden fruit and obtain real victory over temptation? Is it possible to be “temptation free”? Does God answer the prayer, “and lead us not into temptation”?
Let’s first look carefully at the word temptation especially as it is used in Matthew 6:13. The Greek language renders this word as: the place of proof, or the place of putting to the test. The word insinuates neither good nor evil. The fact that God might lead us to a place of testing, does not determine in advance the outcome. There is nothing evil or good about being tested. God is simply wanting to produce fruit in your life in those times. In our contemporary vocabulary, the Greek word here would be better translated as « testing » as opposed to « temptation. »
There are really three general categories of testings: the first category is the testing that God decides is essential for your progress. Like in the case of Job, God wanted to double his wealth and his influence in the world. To do that God needed to effect some changes in Job’s life. And the tests through which he passed accomplished that.
Then there are the tests we go through because of bad choices we have made. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and he had tests and trials from that point until his death. But God redeemed David’s sin. And not only did the Messiah come through Solomon, Bathsheba’s son, but David never had issues of lusting after women from that point forward.
And lastly, there is a very broad category of testings and trials that come to us because we live in a fallen and very imperfect world. These can be accidents, natural catastrophes, genetic defects, illnesses, economic collapse and war. God is NOT the author of these things; and He protects us from many of them. But every Christian isn’t exempt from every testing common to man. Some times bad things happen in this life. Let us be determined to go through these testings for the glory of God.
The Greek word used in our text above really has nothing to do with being tempted by the forbidden fruit. This kind of temptation we will talk about tomorrow. But for our study today, it is important to note that the scripture promises us that we will never be tested above what we are able to bear; and with each testing God will provide a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) The way out doesn’t mean that we won’t go through the test. It just means that even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us, and His rod and staff comfort us all the way through to the other side. (Psalm 23)