Matthew 6:13a “And lead us not into temptation,…”
Years ago I heard a Bible teacher give a very illuminating paraphrase of this verse: “Lord, let there not be anything in my heart that would cause you to put me to the test.” We know from Scripture that God doesn’t tempt anyone. (James 1:13) But God will allow situations to arise that will reveal what is within us. The manner in which lovers of Jesus respond is critical.
I think of King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:31 – “But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” The same Bible teacher explained that the way God leaves us is to withdraw our conscious awareness of His presence. We think we’re alone, but we’re not.
God uses these experiences in our lives for our benefit – not as ‘Gotcha!’ moments. They are God’s gifts to us that allow us to show ourselves strong in His behalf; or to have faults within us revealed that we then can deal with. If we have ‘termites’ or are building our ‘house’ upon sand rather than rock (Matthew 7:24-27), isn’t it critical that we find out and repent?!
Sometimes the situations we encounter reveal our unbelief or lack of faith. When we see our deficiencies, they are not putdowns – but are revelations that enable us to change for the better. The Holy Spirit is working within us to conform us to the image of Christ in every area of our lives. The opportunity to repent is such a gift from God!
God wants and expects excellence from us in every area of our lives. If we think we are only capable of mediocrity, we will be content with mediocrity. But with the Holy Spirit we are not only capable of excellence; we are held accountable for it as well. Not in a judgmental way, but as recipients of the greatest gifts ever given: the new birth and the Holy Spirit. This news isn’t meant to intimidate us but exhilarate us!
God is working incessantly within us to enable us to become a glory to Him. He is the Master Craftsman. When people see us (the work of His hands), His intent is for them to recognize His craftsmanship. They will see Him in us; and experience Him when interacting with us! We are an intimate part of the process so let’s embrace it with the passion it deserves.