“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
– Matthew 6:5-15
“And lead us not into temptation.” This verse comes from the Lord’s Prayer, and each element can be divided into most instructive heads.
“’ Our Father in heaven’ – I am a child away from home.
“’ hallowed be your name’ – I am a worshiper.
“’ your kingdom come’ – I am a subject.
“’ your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ – I am a servant.
“’ Give us today our daily bread.’ – I am a beggar.
“’ And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’ – I am a sinner.
“’ And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ – I am a sinner in danger of being a still greater sinner.
“After a man is converted and has received forgiveness of sins, soon he will be tempted by the devil, for Satan cannot bear to lose his subjects. And when Satan sees someone cross the border and escape out of his hand, he gathers up all his forces and exercises all his cunning that he may slay him at once. To meet this special assault, the Lord makes the heart watchful. This is thus a prayer of watchfulness, which is necessary from the commencement of the Christian life even to its close. There is no hour in which a believer can afford to slumber. And in addition to watchfulness, a believer must never deliberately enter temptation. Anyone who does so is a liar before God.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon
We must be watchful. We must anticipate. We must be on guard, as in Ephesians 6:11, putting on the armor of God.
As Spurgeon starts off saying, each of these lines of the Lord’s Prayer is a sermon unto itself, and I am sure many pastors have done just that.
What Spurgeon finishes with is a testimony to the way life is in this broken world.
My greatest sin is thinking that my way is the right way. I try to convince myself that I am making Biblical decisions, when it is really what I wanted to do anyway. The last verse of the book of Judges rings in my head, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
Ouch! That did not work out for the people of Israel; why do I keep doing it? Then I compound the issue by getting angry that my ‘good’ plan failed?! What hypocrisy! What egotism! No, it’s just being human.
Remember what your coach said just before you pitched a winning game, kicked the winning field goal in American football, kicked the winning goal in soccer, etc. He whispered in your ear, “You’ve got this.”
But when you are being tempted to take charge and exit from God’s perfect plan, it is not the coach whispering those words. It is Satan.
Our sins do not have to be the big ones (as if some are worse in God’s eyes) to harm our relationship with Jesus. Instead of taking the next step along the narrow path toward being like Jesus, we are struggling to get back on our feet after stumbling from the path.
Maybe, we should be more watchful. Maybe, I should be more watchful.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.