Our Spiritual Dependence on God

Matthew 6:9b-13

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Today we will finish our study through the model prayer that Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:9b-13. We finish with verse 13.

Verse 13 says this:

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Temptation.

I don’t have to tell you for you to know, for you already know, that temptation is all around. To some degree, you have faced temptation today ever since you got out of bed this morning.

We may think of temptation as being the really big ones that are external to us. Like seeing a brand new sports car and getting angry because you don’t have it or can’t afford it. Or seeing a husband and wife getting along great, enjoying each other and getting angry or sad or depressed because your marriage isn’t so good.

There are many external type temptations…you see and you want…you want and you can’t have so you respond in some sinful way. Or you go after what is not yours to have and acquire it in a sinful way.

But all temptation is not so external to us. Laziness can be a temptation. You have a pile of work, laundry, papers, projects, to do but you’d rather scan social medial. You have an exam to study for but you’d rather message your friends. You know you reed to exercise but you’d rather eat ice cream.

Prayer time is replaced with play time, community with the Lord in His word is replaced with movies, ministry is replaced with entertainment and worship is replaced by indulgences of all kinds.

Temptation is outside, it is all around but it is also, inside in our hearts and in our minds. It is near constant, it is always with use

How much does it take to get you off track spiritually? Probably not much.

This must be a really big deal because Jesus brings it up in this very short prayer.

Let’s look at what Jesus said here and understand its meaning for us.

In Matthew, later on, in 26:41 Jesus also brings this topic to bear, there He says:

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

These are words that Jesus spoke to Peter in the Garden before Jesus arrest. This is an interesting statement by Jesus given the circumstances at the time. Thought Jesus knew His soon to be fate, His arrest, His torture, His death on a cross, He does not say here to Peter, Peter…pray for me, awful things are coming my way soon. No, what does Jesus do? He says pray, so that you will not enter into temptation.

I find that fascinating. Jesus concern was for Peter personally. Jesus knew what Peter was about to witness and Jesus knew that because of what Peter was about to see that he would, Peter would be tempted to sin. And so Jesus says, pray that you may not enter into temptation. Peter would be tempted to deny Jesus, to run and hide, to turn his back on the things that Jesus had taught Him, to doubt that Jesus was the Savior, to lead others into the same sorts of sin.

And so we have this as a second example of Jesus wanting us to pray regarding temptation.

Now, many have struggled with this portion of the model prayer thinking that it could imply that God sometimes tempt His people to sin. However, this is where we have to remember the God does not contradict Himself in His word. WE know that God does directly tempt anyone to sin because the Bible says so very clearly that this is so.

James 1:13 says this:

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

This is really straightforward and clear. “He himself tempts no one.”

So where does temptation come from?

Look further in James 1

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

We are tempted because of our desires, our desires are bent toward various sin. Your tempted by some sin that I may not be so tempted by and the other way around. I may be tempted by some things that you are not tempted by but we are all subject to temptation, of some kind.

And by the way, there may be some things that are not tempting for you today that may be a temptation to you another day. Desires change, what tempts us may change too.

How many times have we said, “I would NEVER do that!” only to find that one day we are doing what we said we would never do!

Temptation can be very fluid. Now it is for all these reasons, the changing of what temps us, the every presence of temptation, the fact that temptation aligns itself with our heart desires, it is for all these reasons that Jesus admonishes us to pray for God’s help in this matter of temptation. It is too great for us to face on our own, we need God’s help with this.

Some people, and I hope this is not you, but some people have what is sometimes called the “Samson syndrome.” Have you heard of that? You remember Samson in the OT right? Samson was a strong man, physically strong, a warrior, He is the guy that young boys read about and think yes that is what I want to be like! The problem with Samson was that he thought he was stronger than he really was spiritually. He thought he was strong, he could handle temptation, and yet he could not and the results were disastrous for him. We are made to be dependent on God.

He made us to depend on Him, to trust Him, to have a relationship with him, to be close to Him. We are not made to be an independent Samson, that will not go well with you or me or anyone else. And so Jesus teaches us here a great truth and that is we need God, we need His help. If you have not realized that, if you are not depending on Him heavily, if you are not spending time with Him, getting closer to Him, then you are not in a good place as a Christian,

When we read this in the model prayer it is likely that our minds go back to Jesus temptation in the wilderness after His baptism. There are many parallels in the two.

In Matthew 4 we read that Jesus was let up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.

That account in Matthew 4 and this one in the Lord's prayer speak of God as leading someone into the way of temptation. Both also refer to acts of temptation. Both also speak of the Devil as being the tempter.

So, the request that we see in the Lord’s prayer then should be seen as a petition that we not be exposed to situations where we are tempted by Satan. Jesus perfectly resisted Satan’s temptation and it all ended very well. However we need to realize that we do not possess all the power and strength of Christ that he exhibited. We should not assume that our resolve will be so perfect. The temptation with a loaf of bread after a 40 day fast would probably be enough to compel us to sin or the enticement of all the world's riches or all the world's power would be crazy difficult for any of us and unlike our perfect Savior we may succumb to sin quickly and easily, even the most spiritual among us, whoever that is.

Christ did not give in and worship the Devil to gain His promises but we may not be so strong in similar circumstance. Jesus followers, we must admit humbly that we are weak and even though we have been changed that we are still in need of great change and utterly dependent on God.

The fourth petition, in this prayer was one that recognized our dependence on God for our physical survival right? Give us this day our daily bread. This petition is one that says our spiritual survival is in His hands as well.

But I am afraid we don’t see this, I mean honestly. I am afraid that we all have a little bit of Samson in us. Or I could say a little of Peter in us.

In Matthew 26 we see arrogance on the part of Peter. And I am not saying he was not being sincere here, I think he was to the best of his knowledge. But what he missed was a realistic view of his inner weakness.

Remember when he said this?

33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Men and ladies, children, we are weak in our flesh and in need of God to help us.

Paul had similar concerns for those he ministered to.

1 Corinthians 7:5

This for married couples and their intimacy:

5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

And Galatians 6:1

6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

There are many places in the Bible where God forces us to say…we are weak in in need of help.

The follower of Christ must be aware of his or her own weaknesses

We cannot escape in this life from temptation and so Jesus taught not only to pray for protection from temptation but also protection in temptation. He said,

but deliver us from evil.

This final phrase can mean, deliver us from evil or deliver us from the evil one. The exact understanding is not clear. There are biblical parallels for both.

For example 2 Timothy 4:18 says this:

18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.

This is Paul talking about being rescued from evil deeds.

But then John 17:15 Jesus speaks of us being rescued from Satan:

15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Satan is the one responsible for temptation, he is the tempter so being shielded from Him is being shielded from evil.

Deliver means to be rescued from something that we cannot escape from on our own. It is not to free ourselves but to be freed by someone else. The word reinforces our helplessness and our great need of God’s intervention.

The great truth of this part of the Lord’s prayer is somewhat simple. We are helpless and weak on our own and God is mighty to care for and rescue us. That is it. And when we forget this or fail to recognize it we are in deep trouble.

The Bible shouts this truth to us from just about every angle possible. Your are weak and He is strong. You are helpless and He is mighty to save. You are simple and He is wise. We need Him and He is willing to be our help.

Now, I want to wrap up with a passage from 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Just because temptation is strong and we know we are weak, that is no reason to give up and say, well, I just can’t do this, i can’t change, I can’t resist, I can’t turn from sin. It is since we are weak that God intervenes like he has said in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

He says plainly. In whatever way you are tempted, it is common. Temptation itself and the way you are tempted in particular it is common. It is not a surprise to God and nor should it be for you. This is actually good news. Why is it good news? Because you know if you are tempted in some brand new way then we may think, well this is so unusual that there are not answers to it, that the Bible does not address it.

But God does address your temptations. They are not new nor are they unique.

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.

So here is the thing: God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,

There has been such confusion and terrible commentary on this verse. What does it mean? God is faithful to not let you be tempted beyond what you can resist as one who is in Christ.

It is not saying, we are strong to resist, this is a passage written about Christians those who are in Christ. Christ is with you and He will give you what you need to resist.

God is regulating how you are tempted to what degree you are tempted. He is not giving you more than you can handle as one who is in Christ.

I’ve recently heard many people say, this is more than we can handle. Well sure if you are not a Christian. But in Christ it is not more than you can handle, on your own sure, but in Christ no its not.

Temptation is not randomly throttled in your life. God is faithful, God is with you, turn to Him and He will help you.

He goes on:

but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

There you go, temptation will come, but God is there, He will provide a way for you, not to not have to face it but that you can endure it. God doesn’t just take our problems our trials our temptations away but He does go with us helping us in Christ to endure!

He is with you in your troubles, He is near you in your temptations, He is faithful, He never turns on you, He carries you through. He has so far right? Yes, and He will continue to for each of His children.

I am glad that God gave this to us, Our faithful God.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.