Protect us from evil.
This line is translated a few ways
NIV: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
GNT: Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One
CEV: Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil
I’ve put several translations here so you get a feel of what Jesus was saying in his mother-tongue.
I’ve often wondered though, does God actually lead us into a place of temptation? Does He take us on purpose into a place where we are weak to give us the opportunity to grow stronger? I need someone with a more rounded theology to help with this one (Pastors, you know who you are 😉 Feel free to chip in!). What I do know, is that whilst the evil one is still around there will always be temptation.
The evil one mentioned here is as real as Jesus. I’ve mentioned him before but not given him much time. The devil, Satan, Lucifer, Father of Lies .. take your pick. He’s a created fallen angel, not an eternal God, who will do his very best to steal you away from a relationship with our Heavenly Father and to deceive you into believing any number of lies about yourself.
Picture Scar from the Lion King.
Did God really say don’t eat the apple? Really? What a meanie .. He just doesn’t want to you know what He knows.
Go on, jump! You know that the scriptures say that angels will catch you.
Aww .. you must be so hungry. When did you last eat? Turn these rocks into bread. You deserve something to eat.
See all these cities, and kingdoms? I know you have come to save them and rule them. Tell you what, you bow down and worship me and I’ll give them all to you. You don’t have to go to the cross at all!
( By the way, did you just read all that in Scar/Jeremy Iron’s voice? )
These half truths might seem sensible but behind each suggestion and question is the desire to make us doubt God, to misinterpret the bible or to serve our own interests.
The temptations to take something that isn’t ours (‘free’ movie downloads), to say something to bring someone down (well, they deserved it!) or to do something (for a laugh, you know?) will always be around. Each one of us has that weaker spot in our soul or psyche, that part which is less well protected than the others, the bit where the devil can give us a tickle, and say “hey buddy .. “.
So .. we all have that weak spot, that hurt, that need in us which the devil can exploit. But hasn’t the Lord’s Prayer covered this already?
If there is a hurt in us which tempts us to behaving unjustly, or believing “we have the right”, didn’t we just cover that? When we forgive others, we give up the right to complain, back-stab and gossip. When we give up on “being right”, the temptation to act in the belief that we are somehow justified loses it’s grip.
There is much in the world that catches our eye. Cars, phones, clothes, possessions and so on. If we feel that what we have is not enough and we want more .. why not take a little extra? Why not buy another one? Because the bread that God gives just doesn’t quite fill us. What? WHAT?! Didn’t we read that God is able to meet all our needs one way or another? Jesus himself said:
I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
If we can believe and hold on to the promise that God will give us our portion of ‘bread’ every day and that He will never leave us wanting or abandoned, then there is one less place that temptation can have a hold.
Here is it. What I’ve found by looking at the Lord’s Prayer is that it holds together perfectly.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
It starts by reassuring us of our relationship with Father God, it continues by asking for His kingdom to come to earth. In His kingdom, all our needs are met and there is peace and forgiveness between us all. How then can we be tempted? In this place, the devil has no ground and no case against us.
The logic of the prayer also holds true if we go through it backwards.
We are saved from the evil one, and are not tempted because we have forgiven and have been forgiven. We have no hurts that the evil one can get a hold on. All out needs are met so we don’t need more than our portion. When God’s kingdom is seen on earth like it is in heaven, we can say “Yup, God you are holy and you are our Heavenly Father who loves us”.
How. Cool. Is. That?!