Lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from evil.
Do you remember going to the county fair with your family when you were a young child? Your parents told you to stay near and stick with the family. You went through the barns and saw all the giant Clydesdales and the little ponies. Then you ran into the Gibsons, with their beautiful golden Haflingers. After a little visit, your family continued walking along. Something interesting caught your eyes. Maybe it was another child with an interesting prize that he won at the game area. You momentarily forgot about your family and became transfixed on this new toy. Before you knew it, you lost track of your family and they were out of sight. You took your eyes off your parents and became temporarily lost. That is what happens when we are tempted to do wrong.
God wants us to keep our eyes on Him, to follow him. But we sometimes take our eyes off Him and follow other things.
We are told in the Bible that there are 3 things that tempt us. The world, the flesh, and the devil. The devil is really behind them all. So, how do we withstand temptation? We pray like Jesus taught us to pray, so that even though we are tempted, we would not give in to the temptation. We ask for Jesus to deliver us from the evil one [the devil].
Though we do this year round, the cycles of the church calendar focus our attention on how this prayer is answered. At Lent we look at the cross and we see that Jesus paid for all the times that we did take our eyes off Him and gave in to temptation. But, in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we also see that He has freed us from the tyranny of the world, the flesh, and the devil. As we pray this prayer we are also asking the Father to send us His Holy Spirit. He will help us to live by the Spirit instead of by the flesh. When our hearts are melted by the height, depth, and width of this great sacrificial gift that God has given us in the death and resurrection of His Son, it can’t but change us and make us glad.
“Be glad. celebrate! Lose your mindless fear, and take courage today. No, don’t ever be afraid, no matter what’s happened to you before. That’s right, don’t be afraid, no matter what you may see coming. Take courage because Christ was crucified for you.”
~Catherine of Siena