LENTEN STUDY 7
And lead us not into temptation.
Father, give us faith to overcome
Our fears, doubts and worries.
Father, do not test us more than we can bear.
Give us the strength to endure patiently,
The grace to accept and persevere.
Give us a life of godliness and contentment.
But deliver us from the evil one.
Father, rescue us from Satan’s wiles,
Free us from bondage,
Snatch us from calamity, death
And the injustice of evil men.
Bible passages for study: Psalm 73:1-28; Ephesians 6:10-19
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance,
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows
of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
1. These last petitions shift the focus to the challenges and threats that God’s children face to their spiritual life both internally and externally.
2. The world in which we live and practise our Christian faith tempts us. Jesus identified how worrying about our needs, particularly basic needs, attacks us (Matthew 6:25). The world and society that has developed independent of God induces desire and fear in the Christian. The world tempts the Christian with the desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of status (1 John 2:15-17), and the fear of failure and rejection.
3. Jesus did not want his disciples to be separated from the world and the attacks of evil one (John 17:15). He expected them to face the temptations of the world and such attacks. Jesus affirms that, as the disciples face
temptations and attacks, he prays and intercedes for them. He is with them as they are tempted.
4. The Bible teaches that, while God permits his children to be tempted, he will never allow the temptation to be something beyond the capacity of his children to resist. Every temptation and attack on God’s children can only happen if God permits. God also ensures that we have all the necessary resources to resist temptation.
5. The greater threat to the disciple is the planned and intended attack of the evil one to unsettle our faith, to damage our confidence, to enslave us again in doubt and sin. God provides all the armour we need to resist those attacks of evil spiritual forces.
Questions for reflection:
1. What are the Biblical resources and Christian practices that strengthen us inwardly against temptation?
2. How do we fight a battle with spiritual forces of evil that seek to destroy us?