And Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Lead Us Not into Temptation

(Sixth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer – Matt. 6:13)

          This familiar wording of the sixth petition can be misleading.  It seems to imply that God may actually lead us into temptation and therefore we have to plead that God will not do so.

Even Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church offered his opinion that this English translation is “not good.”  (Julie Zauzmer and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post, December 12, 2017).

God will never lead us into temptation.  God Himself assures us in His Word: “When tempted, no one should say ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil; nor does He tempt anyone.”(James 1:13-14).

According to Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers: “The Greek word (used in the petition) includes the two thoughts which are represented in English by ‘trials,’, i.e., sufferings which test or try; and ‘temptations,’ allurements on the side of pleasure which tend to lead us into evil.  Of these the former is the dominant meaning in the language of the New testament…”  In this Petition therefore, we ask our Father to preserve us and save us when trials come.

          It is not widely known that Mother Theresa, recognized for her saintly closeness to God and selfless love for the downtrodden, went through a time of feeling being abandoned by God — a period of deep spiritual struggle.  Strangely, this feeling came at a time when she believed that she was doing exactly the work that God had called her to do.  But she kept the faith and carried on with her ministry.

Followers of Christ are not exempt from difficulties and pain in this life.  But if God is for us, who or what can be against us (Rom. 8:31b)?

          We enter 2019 with our hopes and fears yet we cling to the words of our Lord Jesus: “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

          Dear God, thank you for the certainty that nothing can separate us from Your love. Save us from the time of trial.  Let it be an instrument that will deepen our faith and draw us closer to You. Amen.

Emmanuel N. ILAGAN

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