Friday, October 29, 2010

Temptation: From the Devil or From God?

In the last few weeks I have been doing a series of teachings at Northshore Vineyard on The Lord's Prayer covering one line of the prayer at a time each week.  Last week I did a message on ...Give us this day our daily bread.  Next weekend I will be turning my attention to the one line which seems, at least on the surface, to be a bit problematic, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil."

I have to admit that I haven't thought much of this being a difficult passage when I pray the Lord's Prayer because I typically just lump it under the heading of keep me safe from evil, but someone recently did ask me about what seems to be an apparent contradiction between asking God to not lead us into temptation and the verses in James chapter 1 that speak of God tempting no one.

So how's about a little theological wrestling?  What do you think Jesus is getting at in the Lord's Prayer when he implores us to pray "lead us not into temptation"?  Is this more a matter of God helping us in temptation to not fail when tested or are we really asking God to not put anything in front of us that might cause us to sin?  I have some ideas on this but I will keep them to myself for the moment.

By the way here's a little wrestling I did on the subject of temptation a while back on this blog
: Lead Us Not Into Temptation...


Pi Man said...

Trying to be brief, I would say that it goes against God's own nature to "directly" *tempt* us. In other words, I absolutely do not believe that God himself temps us in any way. However, he absolutely, at the very least, "allows" us to be tempted and "allows" us to be tested. One only has to look at the Book of Job to see that God will allow us to be tested by Satan, others, and ourselves.
Now, Satan can and does tempt us, and one might argue that that in itself is a test. I have no problem with that. But I would again argue that that God himself would not directly tempt us, though he can allow us to be tested.
So as far as that part of the Lord's Prayer - "... and lead us not into temptation..." when taken into context with "... but deliver us from evil..." is, in my opinion, another way of saying when we are allowed to be tempted, or when we are allowed to be tested, please enable us to persevere through,if not flee from that situation. However, if we're not able to have the strength of the Holy Spirit to do this, we will absolutely (eventually) fail that test/temptation.
I look forward to your take on all of this. Thanks, TA

Crispin Schroeder said...

Good thoughts Tim. Thanks for the input.

Carlos said...

I agree in parts with Pi Man, but I also liked what you said in your blog about "don't let anything come into my path that might cause me to be tempted." I think that is an important point because it speaks to an understanding of God as creator and master of all and the knowledge that he controls creation. I think when we say that line in the Lord's Prayer we are evoking that knowledge and asking for an honest path towards God. Or asking for direction if you will. What do you think?