by Susan Sampson
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
John Piper said, “There is no moment of your life that is not a moment of temptation–a moment when unbelief and disobedience is not a possibility.” When I heard this statement I thought, “Yes, that is so right, so true,” and then I thought, “There but by the grace of God, go I.” Every moment we are making decisions. When I make a “good” decision, I immediately want the credit. I want the glory. I want somebody to notice and say, “Good job.” This is my flesh. It does not want God to have the glory that He is due. My flesh wants all the glory all the time. But the truth of God’s Word tells me that there is nothing good in me apart from Christ. “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10b). The truth says goodness is, in fact, a fruit of the Spirit. Right before Paul tells us what the fruits of the Spirit are, He lists works of the flesh like anger and jealousy. Goodness is in the fruit section not the flesh section!
Every moment of every day we are tempted to follow the flesh. Though we are new creations in Christ, by God’s perfect will we remain here on earth with our flesh still to deal with. The Lord has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to fight by faith against our flesh. So I want to stop deceiving myself and when I make a “good” decision and follow the Spirit, I want to give glory to whom glory is due! It is the grace of God that keeps me from temptations and when I fall into temptation it is the grace of God that makes a way out. We don’t keep ourselves out of the pit and we don’t rescue ourselves when we are in the pit.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1a NKJV)
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord; I will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer. 31:33)
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezek. 36:37)
The Lord has delivered us from evil and is delivering us from evil and will once and for all and forever deliver us from evil. For now He does allow us to be tested and tempted, but that is only for our good and for His glory. We need strengthening. We need our fruit to grow. When we are weak then His power is displayed. When we are tried, then His compassion and mercy and grace shine forth.
Purge us from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. We thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which we are subject, for sometimes putting us into the furnace to refine our gold and remove our dross. No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give us choice to live in pleasure and keep our sins, or to have them burn away with trial, give us sanctified affliction. Deliver us from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in us, everything that prevents us taking delight in Thee.
“Confession and Petition” in The Valley of Vision
In Jesus’ name, Amen.