And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Matthew 6 : 13
Today is our last day on the Lord’s prayer and Jesus finishes it by talking about temptation. When we hear the word ‘temptation’ it can conjure images of salacious scandals, enticing treasures or forbidden knowledge. But the reality of temptation is in fact far more boring. The temptations we face most of the time are the temptation to ignore that text we don’t really want to answer, to drive just a bit faster the speed limit, to snap at someone when they are annoying us.
When I look at the times that I sin, occasionally it is motivated by bigger things: anger, fear, resentment or jealousy. But more my sin is motivated simply by a desire not to be inconvenienced. I don’t give up my seat because I’d rather be comfy, I choose a more environmentally harmful product because it’s cheaper, or I don’t call my relatives because it seems like too much effort.
The cost seems so small and trivial, and yet I constantly find myself succumbing to this temptation; the temptation to avoid discomfort and choose convenience. In these situations the faithful thing to do is to resist the temptation to take the easy way out and instead be willing to be inconvenienced again and again and again.
Our best tool against this type of temptation is patience. Temptation offers you instant gratification, but patience is the virtue that says, ‘I can put up with this now, because I know it will be better in the long run.’ Patience gives us the ability to see temptation for what it is, a quick way out, and allows us instead to focus on the things we know are more important.
‘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.’
Action: Is there a job you’ve been putting off doing because it’s inconvenient, but you know it’s important? Why not make a start on it today.