"And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:13
Guards in any sport are important. In basketball the point guard is busy making sure the ball is brought down the court safely and thrown in the proper place for the play to happen and the basket to be made. That is his offensive duty but his defensive duties are the same as all of the players - to guard his man becoming a barrier between the ball and the opponent's basket as the activity whirls around him.
Today we look at how to guard our lives as temptations whirl around us.
First, impress God alone. Religious temptations can derail us. This is to act as though we are perfect in order to gain the praise of others. Jesus recognized the pious, insincere behavior of religious leaders. The temptation that delrailed them was to act as though they were perfect in order to gain the praise of others.
This temptation is one that we all must carefully guard against. The Evil One uses it to deceive us into believing something that is untrue - that we are perfect. No one is perfect. We are made perfect before God not by our perfect acts but through the shedding of His Son's blood for our imperfectness. Will we become better people as we follow His ways - yes! Will we always do things perfectly - no!
Our great God promises to deliver us from the Evil One who desires to fool us...so we are given this heartfelt plea, "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil". . . and He will do it. Impressing God alone means living our lives in the recognition that He knows every thought, deed and motive behind our actions. It is His approval that matters.
Second, be aware of your areas of weakness. A Scottish writer from the 1800's recorded these words, "Temptations come, as a general rule, when they are sought."
Our daily living temptations can derail us too. Today's BEHIND THE BENCH blog suggests the kind of temptation experiences we Sportmoms may encounter. Call them out by name praying "lead me away from (you fill in the blank)". God will not take us by the hand toward that which will bring evil into our lives. As we put our hand in His and follow Christ's teachings in our hearts, we can trust that where He leads us will bring glory to Himself and carry out the perfect plan He has in mind for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
As we ask for his leading, His strong hand will guide us to places that carry out His plan.
Lastly, trust God to keep you safe from evil. Unexpected temptations can also derail us. Here we pray "and deliver us from evil". It is one thing to chase evil and it is quite another to have evil chase us. Sometimes the latter requires a quickly‐delivered, "on the run" plea for help. When we find ourselves in evil's ever-present danger, we can ask our mighty God will be there to deliver us from it and dismissing it's power over us.
Getting a bee sting is an unpleasant experience much like temptations. Sometimes we are where the bees might be but take our chances. Sometimes we know they are around but stay there anyway. Sometimes the bees come when we don't even know they are there and without warning we are attacked. No matter what, we can guard against the evils of temptation by honestly praying, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil."
Blessings . . . as God guards your heart against the religious, daily, and unexpected temptations of life.
To read today's "soap" segment of THE INTERRUPTED PRAYER select the BEHIND THE BENCH BLOG tab at the top of this page.
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