“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt 6:13).
Two words stand out in the first part of this petition.
The word “lead” seems to imply that God intentionally and actively “leads” the believer into situations which may be harmful to his/her body and soul.
The word here translated “temptation” (peirasmon) means originally “trial” or “test” or some form of adversity. Why then “temptation”?
The word temptation has a negative connotation. We talk about being tempted into doing/saying that is bad. We rarely hear someone claiming that they were tempted to do/say something good. So the translation “temptation” conveys the idea that there is a spiritual danger in the trial/testing…the possibility of falling into temptation (sin).
The Bible gives us the godly perspective of the word temptation.
No one could better understand “temptation” than Jesus.
“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Jesus was tempted, tried, and tested…but the result always was:
-no sin; a better understanding of what it means to be tempted, tried, and tested; a merciful approach in dealing with sinners like us. All these are making our Lord Jesus the “perfect” High Priest (Hebrews 4:15, 16).
Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane shows that facing the coming trials and temptations, he prayed for God’s intervention: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). What cup? The trial, adversity that lay ahead of him.
His challenge (and revelation) to his disciples was, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41). The most challenging temptations come from the weakness of our body. Stand firm, knowing that God is for us.