Yesterday’s sermon on sexual immorality was so helpful. 1 Thess. 4:1-8 is crystal clear concerning God’s expectation of us.
What do you do when you are tempted? Pray! Jesus taught how.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. -Matt. 6:13
These final two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer ask for protection from temptation and the evil one. It is a cry for help to keep us away from things that would damage our integrity. Don’t miss the power of the plural pronouns here! It is “us” not “me.”
What Jesus prayed is important but what he didn’t pray is also important. He never prayed: “Do not bring me into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one.” This individualistic, independent mindset was not prevalent in his prayer.
Jesus understood this: if one person committed sin, the entire group dealt with the consequences.
Regardless of what we think, our decisions affect others greatly!
Really think about the gravity of your decisions.
- If you fall into temptation, how would that impact your family?
- If you fall into temptation, how would that impact your workplace?
- If you fall into temptation, how would that impact your church?
My sin affects us. Your sin affects us.
None of us are an island. We are the Church, and we are the Body of Christ.
When the foot stumbles, the entire body staggers (1 Cor. 12:26).
Does God Tempt Us?
When Jesus prayed that God not lead him into temptation, this statement does not mean that God normally employs such methods. We know that God is not tempted by evil and he himself does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). God has also promised that every time we are tempted he provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). Since Jesus has suffered through temptation (Heb. 2:18), he is able to come to our aid since he has been tempted just like us yet he never sinned (Heb. 4:15)!
Jesus’ prayer is this: God, sound the alarm when temptation is near.
Keep my eyes open. Help me stay alert. Remind me that I often fall into the very sin that I hate (Rom. 7:19). Cause me to acknowledge the sin that so easily ensnares me (Heb. 12:1). Awaken me to the reality of an enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour me (1 Pet. 5:8).
Think about this:
If the evil one wanted to take me out, what strategy would he use? What temptation would he employ?
By the way, if you don’t have an answer for this question, you are in a dangerously blind spot and are very near spiritual ruin.
Pray through these areas. If these temptations come in certain environments from which you can avoid, talk with God and make a plan. Get specific! What temptations do you need help avoiding? What strategies of the enemy do you need to realize?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.