En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Don’t stand next to the edge and you won’t fall in!

Posted by Scott on March 18, 2009

Another portion of the model prayer that Jesus used to teach His disciples, is “Lead us not into temptation”. Luke 11:2-4 Jesus used a shorter version of the model prayer to teach them with. The first part of any prayer should deal with God, who He is, His character, His holiness and our relationship with Him. However, in the second part of the prayer we are to deal with our shortcomings, our sin, our forgiveness of sin as well as us forgiving others for their ills against us or even things owed to us, our attitude, our indebtedness, and our selfishness.

What is temptation anyway? I have found from the Greek original text can be an enticement, trial, trouble, an affliction, an adversity, to make stumble into a situation to sin, an examination. The “temptation” is not what the sin is, however, it is what we do with the temptation that can become the sin, the shortcoming, the unlawful act. As it is revealed to us, all Christians, will be tempted…there is no escape from it on a daily basis. It is a necessary part of the Believer’s life in order to become the instruments or vessels God will use. These most difficult and trying situations come in our lives to see how we will react and to build upon. These discouraging events in our lives are there to build us up in Christ, strengthen us in Him, and ultimately deliver us into victory.

Why should we ask God not to lead us into temptation if it is a necessary part of life? That is a very good question. So, let’s jump into that end of the pool for a moment. Remember, Matthew 4:1 it tells that “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil”. So, why should we ask not to be lead into temptation? Well, as one mentor would say he thinks Jesus meant, “we should pray to be kept from unrecognized temptations”. If we know a temptation is coming, then we can prepare for it in prayer and be resistant to it…as we resist it becomes a source of strengthening and growth. However, many places we go and find ourselves at we may not be able to discern a temptation in that moment without asking the Lord to keep us from that temptation in the first place. Many times we fall into temptation and end up sinning, because it has caught us off guard and we had not prayed.

Look at Peter the day Jesus was taken prisoner and crucified. Jesus asked him to pray with Him in the garden. What did Peter do, slept. Peter could not stay awake. Jesus was not asking Peter to pray for Him, but to pray for himself and to use the teachings on prayer that Jesus had taught Peter just days before. Peter was not “prayed up”, as some call it, for the events about to take place in his life and the life of Christ.

What happened that night in the garden…Peter ended up chopping off a soldier’s servant’s ear to which Jesus had to miraculously put back on the servants head. Then near the courts, when Peter was confronted, he failed again and cursed Jesus and denied any involvement with Jesus or that he knew Him at all. Peter should have prayed before all this, but he learned a valuable lesson on why he needed to pray daily and pray that he would not be lead into unforeseen temptations. In Peter’s case, Ray Stedman said “Satan wrung out his courage and hung him up to dry”. We certainly do not want to be caught in this same situation. Jesus has told us how to pray to our God, now, we must simply put that into action.

So, when we pray as we should, we need to think while we pray about what we are praying. Use this prayer a guide to keep us on track and in proper order to be in God’s will. I understand times when we are mumbling to God out of despair, when we cry out in a humble situation, and that takes on a different type of prayer. This is dealing with our daily communication with our heavenly Father. When we come to this part of our prayer time, we are simply recognizing that we are foolishly weak and that we constantly battle to stay out of trouble. We need to admit this and ask God for His assistance in keeping us from the edge of the “well of sin”…show us where the edge is, so that we can stay far away from the edge. If we are not playing at the edge, then it is good to say we will not fall in.

Scott Bailey © 2009

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