And do not lead us into temptation... Matthew 6.13
The world is quite literally filled with temptation. We are bombarded in advertising, television, movies, music, everywhere. We are tempted to sin in every conceivable way. We are encouraged to indulge our physical, sexual, emotional and relationship desires. Temptations come at us and cause us to not think about consequences. We look at how other people live, at how fun that temptation looks, and it becomes easy to rationalize or justify almost any behavior.
Temptation is inevitable. There can be no question about that. There is no way that normal humans can avoid all temptations. But Jesus, in his prayer does provide some help. Temptations will come, but we must avoid dwelling on them. We must not be 'led into' temptation. Our approach to things that Satan puts before us must be a three step process.
- When we are tempted, we must recognize and name the temptation as soon as possible. By identifying the temptation we lessen the significance of its power over us.
- After recognizing the temptation, we must take every measure possible to eliminate it and get past it. Temptation would love to come into your brain and rest there for awhile. As soon as you see it, get rid of it.
- Pray that you will be given victory over temptation and that it will not return. Never, never, never entertain the temptation, but rebuke it and pray that you can avoid it in the future.
Remember, being tempted is not a sin. However, when we focus on the temptations in our lives, we open the door to sin.
Prayer: There are many things that want my attention and my love, O God. Help me to discern the things that are from you and are good for me. Give me power and victory over the temptations in my life. Amen.