Every day the Jews say a prayer like this one:
“May it be Your will, HaShem, my God and the God of my forefathers, that you rescue me today and every day from brazen men and brazenness, from an evil man, an evil companion, an evil neighbour, an evil mishap, the destructive spiritual impediment [‘Satan’], a harsh trial and a harsh opponent, whether he is a member of the covenant or whether he is not a member of the covenant.” (The Complete Artscroll Siddur)
So now compare the prayer that Jesus made, I have underlined our verse today so you can see the comparison:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
As we can see at the end of His prayer Jesus introduces us to the spiritual battle that we daily face.
There is a path that knows no end and which has ruined and continues to ruin countless lives, families, churches, communities and yes even nations.
No one really knows what it is that causes a person to be tempted to such destructive means, No one really understands the mind of the one being tempted at the time.
What was Samson thinking when he kept going back to Delilah, even when he knew she was trying to kill him through a sexual trap?
Why did Judas betray his friend even when there must have been doubts in his mind over what he was doing?
Why did Ananias and Sapphira pretend they were giving everything when they weren’t, they must have wondered if anyone would find out?
Temptation is irrational.
We will not know the answers to these questions, they are held within the mystery of fatal attraction.
James 1: 13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Jesus tells us to pray about the spiritual battle. There are times the Holy Spirit will lead us into a desert experience where for a period of time we are tempted by our own desires in that place. If we give in to those desires we sin. If we surrender to God we mature in the power of the Spirit, just as Jesus did.
Temptations generally fall into the following categories:
The temptation of not having.
Temptation will come in the area of your lack, what you need or think you need, in the place of emptiness. It strikes at what you previously held as a personal belief or value for your life.
“Did God really say? Maybe not!” “Why not? Maybe God understands.”
Temptation comes to emphasise your restricted life. It will highlight freedom as being the most important thing and cause you to forget that you are already free.
The temptation of being secretive.
Temptation will try and fool you into thinking you can manage the consequence of sin. It will blind you to the effect on the people you influence.
The temptation of needing to be needed.
There is a temptation that tries to move the person from the place of adding value to focusing on feeling valued.
The craving to feel value can hinder a person from being valuable. We are most valuable when we get to the place where we do not need appreciation from people.
The craving to feel valued is one of the most common reasons people make bad decisions, “I’m leaving. I just don’t feel valued anymore.”
The craving to be valued causes people to assume they are most valuable when they are most valued.
The temptation of needing answers for your suffering.
God did this to me, Satan did this to me, maybe I did something wrong that brought this suffering?
Sometimes, stuff just happens and there is no one to blame.
But temptation draws you away from the treasures that can be found in suffering. It slows up the process of all things working together for good.
Let me end with the Jewish daily prayer followed by the Jesus prayer:
Do not let us be overcome by sin, disobedience, or iniquity, not by trials, nor by disgrace; and do not let the evil inclination rule us. Distance us from harmful people and harmful friends … rescue me today and every day … from my evil inclination, from an evil friend, from an evil neighbor, from an evil incident … and from the destructive adversary (satan). (Siddur, Morning Prayers)
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.”
This is a prayer to be used and perhaps by increasing the prayer being used in our daily lives we will be better equipped as disciples.