“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Some Christians don’t think much about the devil. It’s “I’m going to heaven, he’s going to hell, and so what’s the beef?” They pooh-pooh him, thinking, I’m never going to be tempted to smoke or party ’til 2:00 a.m. That’s beneath me. The truth is, genuinely mature Christians are a huge target for everything and anything — and they know it. They are aware of the evil of which they are capable.
The closer you draw to the Lord, the greater your degree of humility. And humility is your most powerful defense against temptation. Humility recognizes that we are so weak, so inept and powerless in ourselves to stave off the wiles of the devil, that we must cast ourselves at all times on God for help. It is then in God’s strength — and God’s alone — that we become victorious.
Question 127 in The Heidelberg Catechism states, “‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ That is: since we are so weak that we cannot stand by ourselves for one moment, and besides, since our sworn enemies, the devil, the world, and our own sin, ceaselessly assail us, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us through the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may stand firm against them, and not be defeated in this spiritual warfare, until at last we obtain complete victory.”
When you ask God, “Lead me not into temptation,” you are asking Him to preserve and strengthen you through the Holy Spirit. You are asking Him for specific guidance as you tiptoe through the minefield of the world, the flesh, and the devil. You are asking Him to cause you to stand firm against every trap and snare. You are asking Him for victory.
Lord God, open my eyes today to the subtlety of the devil’s strategy when I’m tempted. Lord, I am weak! In humility, I ask You for strength and help!