In college, I dreaded pop quizzes. I had one professor in particular who loved to spring them on us. And if you were doing the reading and keeping up with your assignments, they usually weren’t that bad. But if you were like me and sometimes fell behind, they could be perilous. The test either revealed my strengths, or it exposed my weaknesses. It was moment of pressure that revealed who I really was.
Today we come to an interesting phrase in The Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” The Greek word for temptation here is “peyrasmos” and the core idea is of “a test.” It’s a pressure-filled test in life that reveals who we really are through suffering, hardship, persecution, and loss. For some, these life-tests reveal weakness of character which leads to sin and folly. In those cases, the “test” becomes more of a “temptation.” But for others, these life-tests reveal strength of character which results in perseverance. In those cases, the “test” is more of a “validation.” But either way, these tests in life are hard to face. Like the pop quizzes of my college days, tests are moments of pressure that press us to the core.
In this prayer, “lead us not into temptation,” we’re asking God to protect us from the pressures of the tests of life. We know ourselves to be weak and frail. Life’s pop quizzes are stressful. If there’s any way possible, we’d like to avoid the tests that might become temptations that lead to our downfall. If it is possible, let this cup pass. But if the tests of life must come, “deliver us from evil.” Father, keep us from falling and failing and faltering. Don’t let the tests of life take us down. Keep us faithful and true to the end.
Life is full of tests. Maybe you’re facing one today. This prayer reminds us that God is with us in the tests of life. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And our deliverance is in Him alone.
Remember, you are loved more than you know!