'Lead us not into temptation...' seems a bit of an odd thing to pray. William Barclay argues that the word 'temptation' here is referring to the craving towards the wrong things in life. The compromises. The giving-in. God will never tempt us. James 1:13 is clear about this: 'When tempted, no one should ever say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.' The next line of the Lord's Prayer implies where temptation actually comes from: 'Deliver us from the evil one.'
Evil one - what does this mean? Take a look at the state of the world - children forced to join armies; 27 million people trafficked into slavery; whole regions of nations starving; diseases spreading... and the list goes on - it is pretty obvious there is an evil in this world. Some people try to ignore evil, hoping it will ignore them. But we need to be aware of it.
'Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil...' warns us to take the better path. Lusts, selfish ambition, greed, all contribute to what's wrong with the world. Jesus teaches us to pray against it. To choose another way. To live, not as single individuals, but as God's family.
So what now? Practice 'choosing to live like God's family' even in the smallest things. You will be amazed how your life will change when you choose 'good'.
Soulfood : Rom 12-14, Jn 11:1-16, Ps 4, Prov 30:1-4