Text: Matthew 6:13
“And lead us not into temptation.”
Do you wake up thinking, Im on the road again? This is another new day of my Fathers grace to travel the road of life with him to heaven, in which his name can be hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be done? We can wake up with such an outlook on life, for in Jesus we have eternal life, a lodging reserved for us in heaven, and our Father to guide us to it again this day.
Our days journey, however, is complicated by all the temptations that will confront us. The road of life we will travel is not a smooth paved, high speed freeway. It is a back gravel road of temptations, littered with the road debris of sinful allurements on which so many have had their spiritual lives breakdown and come to a grinding halt. Lifes road is a narrow one lane track that is lined on each side with deep, unguarded ditches and ravines of despair and hopelessness for us to crash into as a result of our sins. Lifes road passes one fork after another where the signs at the intersections of life have been turned around and changed to confuse us and to mislead us into making wrong turns and becoming lost in the maze of the worlds false teachings and philosophies. Lifes road is a rough road of troublesome temptations which can upset our journey to heaven or halt it altogether.
To travel this road of life to heaven we must have a high powered faith and a four-wheel drive spirit that can carry us over and through and around these soul-threatening temptations. Thus we turn to our Father for help and strength, praying each new day, Lead us not into temptation.
A popularized prayer says, Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that You and I cant handle together. With his help this is especially true of temptations. So let us pray for his help.
Before driving our car onto the road, we pray that our Lord would keep us safe from accidents, from anything that would endanger our trip, and from the breakdowns that would strand us on the side of the road and halt our journey. We should start each new day with the same prayer, for in a very real sense it is a journey to bring us closer to our heavenly home. So let’s pray that our Father would keep us from cracking up in the ditches of despair and hopelessness, from becoming lost in the world’s false beliefs and philosophies, and from breaking down spiritually on the sinful allurements which cross our tracks. Let us pray the Sixth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, which alerts us to temptations and asks for help to overcome them.
Each day that we travel with our Father on the road to heaven we desire to hallow his name, have his kingdom come, and to do his will. There are those, however, who do not want us to reach heaven or to do these things. They are the three highway men from the dark side of life, the Gruesome Threesome--the devil, the world, and our sinful nature. Each day these three litter our journey to heaven with temptations.
On the road of life they change the road signs to feed us false information so we drive up the wrong streets. They attempt to deceive us from the paths of Gods truth to follow the byways of erroneous beliefs. For example, the devil and the world concoct advertisements to convince us that happiness is having this or that product or pleasurable experience. Upon seeing them our sinful nature shouts within us, Yeah! Thats it! Thats what I want! The devil and the world dangle materialism and hedonism (the philosophy to eat, drink, and be merry) in front of our eyes to tantalize our sinful nature, so we forget the joy of our salvation, do not remain content with our daily bread and lot in life, and so we neither hallow Gods name in holy living nor do his will. They tempt us to turn off the road to heaven to proceed in a different direction that we may obtain what we want for ourselves in this life. The Gruesome Threesome also try to weigh us down with a lot of excess worldly baggage to slow down and halt our journey to heaven. If they can bog us down under a heavy load of things and pleasures, we will lose our spiritual energy and desire to stay on the road to heaven with our Father.
Our beloved Savior said these things this way in his Parable of the Sower and the Seed: “Now some seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, so it did not bear grain....Now other (people) are the seeds that are sown among the thorns; these are the ones who heard the Word, yet the worries of life and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in, choking the Word and making it unfruitful.”
The Gruesome Threesome also fill and line our road of life with potholes and ditches of despair and hopelessness for us to crash into, so we flounder in the depths of our doubts over our Fathers willingness to forgive our sins.
Oh-h-h the devil is a sly, cruel bugger. He knows how to drag our spirits down into the pits of depression, doubt, fear, and unbelief to destroy our souls in hell. First, he litters our road, like it was road debris, with temptations we cannot avoid hitting: temptations to satiate our desires and whims; temptations for revenge on those who sinned against us; temptations to enrich ourselves; temptations to breakdown our relationship with our Father and to halt our journey to heaven.
Then the devil plays up to our sinful nature, knowing it has no power to resist him. Having had the desire planted within us, our sinful nature runs after it, like a greyhound after a rabbit. We then commit the evil deed. We do exactly what James 1:14, 15 say: “Each one is tempted when he is dragged away and enticed by his own desire. Then when the desire conceives, it gives birth to sin; and when the sin has come to completion, it brings forth death.”
After the devil has dangled the temptation in front of our eyes and has stirred our sinful nature to do it, he accuses us of doing the very thing he tempted us to do. He lays guilt and fear on our conscience: You no good sinful wretch! Look at you! You have sinned! You will die for this! God is altogether unmerciful and just. You will not find any pity from him! Not after what you have done! You are lost! Condemned!
We then wallow in the guilt of our sin. We feel miserable. Depressed. Our sinful nature agrees with the devil, convincing us that we can never go to our Father with our sin to be forgiven. We are tempted with hopelessness and despair, as Judas was, who was driven to hang himself to the loss of his soul.
As we travel the road of life our Father tells us, “Don’t you believe that condemned scoundrel, the devil. He is a liar, the father of lies. This is why he is accusing you of your sin and telling you I will never forgive you. For the truth is, I will forgive you! “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest...and you will find rest for your souls.”
The rest he gives us for our sin-burdened consciences is in the blood of his Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace.” To assure us of his gracious forgiveness and gift of salvation, our Father tells us in Psalm 103:8-12: “The Lord is merciful and gracious; Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always contend with us; Nor will he keep his anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins; Nor has he repaid us according to our perversities. For like the height of the heavens over the earth, His lovingkindness prevails over those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Being assured that we have such a gracious and compassionate Father in heaven who forgives our sins, we can come to him at the beginning of each new day’s journey to heaven, and pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” With this petition we ask him to help us overcome the temptations which will confront us that day. We ask him to guide us through the road debris and potholes and ditches of temptations, which litter and clog and line our road to heaven. We ask him to keep us on the true course for our salvation, so that in the process his name is hallowed, his kingdom comes, and his will is done.
To guard and keep us on the road to heaven, our Father goes before us. He clears away the debris of temptations which he knows would harm us. He shields and protects us from them. He gives us a clear road to travel on. When we do come to the danger zones of temptations, he guides us through and around them, giving us the spiritual strength to resist and to overcome them. First Corinthians 10:12, 13 tell us: “God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted more than what you are able, but with the temptation he will also make the way of escape, so you are able to bear it.”
When we pray this petition at the beginning of each new day, “Lead us not into temptation,” we ask that he would do these things for us. As we pray this petition we can be thinking, “Father, I desire to hallow your name and do your will. Do not let me be led today into sin and evil. Lead me away from it. Keep it away from me. Let nothing so big and bad confront me today that I with your help cannot handle it. With your guidance and aid I can overcome today’s temptations and come to the end of this day’s journey unharmed as your blameless child. I begin this new day with the confidence that with your help there will be nothing we cannot handle today.” Amen.