The Year of the Mountain: Day 96
April 6, 2013
"And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
Matthew 6:13 (NKJV)
Leading into Day
Lead us Not into Temptation
Today's verse is part of something now commonly referred to as "The Lord's Prayer". Jesus' disciples marveled at the way their Lord prayed, and asked Him how they should pray. Among many other things, Jesus suggested that we pray for God not to lead us into temptation and to keep us from the grasp of Satan. Yesterday, I talked about how Satan wears many disguises. It reminded me of a concept hidden in the Lord's prayer.
There is a time when a redeemed alcoholic is called by God into a bar to minister to someone. The same goes for a man formerly given to sexual immorality sent to the Playboy mansion to win a soul. God wills what He will and does what He does. He has the power to send a man with a stick to part the sea. But most often, the laws of physics will stay intact. As will God's tendency to keep us as far from a known temptation as possible. Especially if we plead for Him to do so, as instructed.
Most often, we tend to lead ourselves into temptation. If we are clever, we even convince ourselves that we are supposed to be that close to temptation And this is a lie that the enemy both tells and thrives on. Oftentimes we will see a Christian decide they should dwell with that temptation, essentially testing God by asking Him repeatedly to get through it.
I have to apply this truth to something near and dear to me, because the whole world has yet to hear. Nor do people realize how deeply the enemy has ingrained this into our culture. Even into Christian minds and churches...
Sexual immorality is not tolerated by God. Throughout scripture it is warned against, we are told to flee it, and promised it will lead us straight to our death. Yet if you turn on the television for ten minutes, you'll see that in this culture sexual immorality is celebrated.
Marriage on the other hand, is celebrated by God. Sinless, undefiled. Yet in this culture, marriage is warned against, we are told to avoid it, and promised we will lose ourselves in it and then it will end. Unless, of course, sexual immorality can find a way into marriage (via homosexuality, etc). Then it is suddenly revered.
Tell me now, if you can recognize the lie from the pit of hell. Is it prolonged sexual temptation and immorality until we finally find ourselves and financial success at some culturally acceptable time in our late 30's? Or is it that marriage is honored by God, and with God all things are possible and unshakable?
I've shared before that I married my high school sweetheart at age 20 to the tsk tsk tsk's of our entire culture, Christian or not. God had told us that I had (figuratively) been made from my husband's rib. So for far too long we prayed this hopeless prayer in a desperate effort to honor God.
"Lead us not into temptation. Deliver us from evil."
Therefore it was the blessed will of God when He instructed us to do something that is a cultural taboo. Get married. "Gasp!" Before age 25. "No way!" And keep our wedding vows in a place of honor in our home and hearts. "Unthinkable!"
The lie of the times and the culture was even within us, and we fought quite a bit of adversity by choosing to honor GOD and get married according to His truth. And our marriage is perfect... hope you caught that lie too. Marriage is God's will and He will preserve it if a couple looks to Him. He will not, however, reverse the fallen-ness of the world to save you from selfishness and bitterness. See, the prayer to be delivered from evil must be constant.
Our walk with Christ must be constant, whether married or single. But a marriage based on him, even if it occurs before the world gives the go-ahead, can make that walk a bit easier. I'll leave you with this illustration:
There are those valiant few among us that can head into the darkness alone with just a sword and a candle, fighting off the enemy. Guided by the Holy Spirit to keep them from temptation. Indeed, we all start out that way. But often, we seek out a physical hand to hold, adhering to the tried and true "buddy system". Two sets of eyes can discern wolves from sheep with more clarity. Hands tied in the middle, one buddy with a candle, one buddy with a sword. It is true, when one buddy, holding tight to the other trips and falls in darkness or temptation, the other will likely follow. Two fall harder than one. Perhaps the one hand will long for its former freedom or a better hand to hold. Maybe a candle will be dropped, or a sword unsheathed too quickly. There will be delays when joined to another. A system to learn. But with the Holy Spirit as a guide, and two steadfast hearts, the three can rise up redeemed as a small army lighting up the dark and fighting off the wolves together.
Temptation is real. Evil is real. But God is bigger and truer indeed. His ways are perfect and timeless. Believing the lies of the times is when societies fail.
I'm blessed to be tied to an excellent swordsman. Lord willing, my candle will still be alight tomorrow.
They're thinking, "I hope they know what they're getting themselves into."
Your Daily Proverb
"You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids."
Proverbs 6:2-4 (NKJV)