All of us prefer to avoid tests in life, because these are moments of accountability when we’re exposed for who we really are. The danger of tests is that we’ll come to realize we’re not all that we ought to be, that we’re frail and faltering beings.
In this sermon, we explore the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” and learn how Jesus shows us teaching us to prepare for life’s tests.
When it comes to the tests of life, this prayer helps us in four ways:
- Calibrate Reality: Jesus is giving this prayer to his disciples as a kind of template to teach them how to pray. This pray for protection from and preservation through life’s tests is the grace we all need on a daily basis. Life is full of tests that we cannot avoid, so we must expect them. By giving us this prayer, Jesus is preparing us to face life’s test as an ordinary part of what it means to follow Him. This prayer helps us calibrate reality so that the tests of life don’t catch us off guard.
- Define the Enemy: Our greatest enemy is not pain, it’s evil. Notice in the prayer that Jesus says deliver us from evil, not from pain. And so, this prayer helps us define the enemy, which is evil within us and all around us. To face such evil within and without, we need God’s preserving grace.
- Run to our Father: When the tests of life come, and evil rears its head, we should run to the Father. If we are children of God, these tests of life are not punitive, they’re purifying. This distinction is vital for us to understand. God is 100% for us, not against us. His goal is to conform us to the image of Christ, making us grow in resemblance of our Father. And so, this prayer helps us to depend on His grace, to yield to His delivering power and presence as we follow Him.
- Look unto Jesus: Not only is Jesus giving us an example in this prayer, but He’s also giving us an example with His own life. If our Heavenly Father brought Jesus through the ultimate test, delivering Him from evil through the cross into resurrection glory, then He can bring us, His adopted sons and daughters, through our tests into glory as well. Because Jesus is victorious, we can follow Him with confidence.
Jesus says, “come follow me.” He invites us to walk with Him through the fire, through the cross, through the tests of life, because there’s glory on the other side.
There is no greater source of courage during the tests of life than to look unto Jesus. If He walked through the fire for us, then we can walk into the fire for Him. Jesus took up the cross for us, so we can take up our cross for Him.
Living the Message episode: https://youtu.be/qg-IvwxUeL4