Apples of Gold
Radio Script for April 30, 2010
“Lord, Lead Us Not Into the Temptation Zone”
Hello, I’m Doug Apple…with Apples of Gold.
Let’s talk about temptation.
The Lord’s Prayer says, “Lead us not into temptation.”
Where does the Lord’s Prayer come from?
It was taught by Jesus after one of His disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
So Jesus said, in Luke 11:2, “When you pray say, ‘Our Father in heaven…’”
That’s how the Lord’s Prayer starts. We are praying to our Father in heaven.
Then in Luke 11:4 it says, “Lead us not into temptation.”
Put them together and you get this simple prayer, “Father in heaven, lead us not into temptation.”
So, does that mean God can lead us into temptation?
Well wait a minute. James 1:13 says that God doesn’t tempt anyone.
So if God doesn’t tempt anyone, why do we need to pray “lead us not into temptation”?
That sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?
Well not if you look closely. If I had a chalkboard right now I would draw a big circle, and I would label it The Temptation Zone.
Inside that circle, the temptation zone, you will be tempted. All temptation takes place inside that zone.
Now listen. God is not doing the tempting. God does not tempt anyone. But it doesn’t say He won’t lead anyone toward the temptation zone.
“But Doug, isn’t that the same as tempting someone?”
No, it isn’t. There is a line there, a difference. So when Jesus tells us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” that is a very real prayer. That is a prayer we need to pray, just as He instructed.
Matthew 4:1 says that Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Spirit didn’t do the tempting, but He did lead Jesus into the temptation zone. See the difference?
Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”
Hebrews 2:18 says that Jesus “suffered when He was tempted…”
So you might say that Jesus got knocked around a bit inside the temptation zone. It says He “suffered.”
So when Jesus said to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” it’s almost like He’s saying, “Look, you don’t want to go there. I’ve been there, and it’s not a nice place to be, so pray to your heavenly Father, ‘Lord, please do not lead me into the temptation zone.’”
Now the temptation zone is not the same as the sin zone. Oh, it can definitely lead to the sin zone, but you can certainly come out of the temptation zone without sliding into the sin zone.
First Corinthians 10:13 offers a great picture of temptation. It says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” I love that illustration, that temptation seizes us.
I picture an unmarked van pulling up to the curb, and thugs in black jumping out and seizing you. The thugs are the temptation, and the van is the sin. They want to seize you and drag you into the van of sin. I’ve seen people who really did have a “van of sin,” but anyway…
The temptation seizes you, and now what? Is it inevitable that you are going to be thrown into the van of sin? Not at all!
Back to First Corinthians 10:13. It says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
So first of all, we need to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” In other words, “Don’t lead us into the temptation zone. Or, “don’t lead us down a street where temptation can jump out and seize us.”
BUT, if we are seized by temptation, that is not the end of the game, not at all. God will provide a way out! We can throw off the thugs and walk away without ever entering the van of sin. We can throw off temptation before it drags us into the sin zone.
Now about the temptation zone. James 1:14 says we are tempted when we are dragged away by our own desires and enticed. So our own sinful desires can seize us.
And we also know that the devil, or Satan, is also called “the tempter.” He tempted Jesus and he will tempt us. So that’s two sources of temptation, but either way, even if temptation does seize us, we know there is always a way out. Temptation never has to lead to sin if we don’t allow it. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
So even if the thugs of temptation jump out and seize us, all we have to do is resist. If we put up a fight, temptation will leave us, like the devil left Jesus after His temptation.
Of course it says he left “until an opportune time,” and that’s the way it is for us. The temptation thugs will return and try to seize us again, but once again God will give us the power to resist.
So a child of God never has to give in to temptation.
And you know what? A lot of temptations can be avoided entirely, I think, if we will take this prayer seriously that Jesus told us to pray, and it’s simply this.
Lord, lead us not into temptation.
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
© 2010 The Arrow’s Tip
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Why “The Arrow’s Tip”? Each morning, after diligently seeking the Lord, I write Apples of Gold. Then before I release it to the public I pray one final prayer, “Lord, send forth your arrows.” I envision Apples of Gold as arrows, tips dipped in the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), sailing toward the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.
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