When it comes to Christian living there are two basic mindsets people have chosen. The first wants to know: “How much can I be like the ungodly and still go to heaven?” The second asks: “How much more can I be like Jesus?” Obviously, only one of these mindsets can be right.
Nowhere can the difference between these two approaches to Christian living be more clearly seen than when considering Jesus’ instruction of “Do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
This petition indicates that the mindset Jesus demands of His disciples requires:
- An intense desire for personal holiness. When the horrific debt and bankruptcy of sin (Matthew 6:12) is clearly understood, your desire to avoid the lures of sin ought to skyrocket. Jesus knows that all spiritual debt (i.e. sin) is bad. What about you?
- A realistic understanding of human nature. As stated in the original language, Jesus words in Matthew 6:13 reflect the fact that all of us will be tempted. If you are drawing breath into your body, the tempter will be seeking to entice you into spiritual debt. This truth, however, does not mean we are to intentionally leave the path of obedience in search of temptation. Immediately after His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted there for 40 days (Luke 4:2). Mark tells us that He went because “the Spirit drove Him” there (Mark 1:12). At no time in His life, did Jesus ever go looking for temptation. What about you?
- A somber realization of Satan’s immense powers to allure. Creating spiritual bankruptcy is the tempter’s specialty. He had the hutzpah to add the word “not” to God’s simple command in the Garden and was still cunning enough to convince Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Because Jesus was ever vigilant about Satan and his seductive wiles, He never allowed the serpent to get his venomous fangs of sin in Him. What about you?
- A lofty standard of expectation. To be Christ-like, victory ought to be the expected outcome for every spiritual battle you have. Jesus was tempted in all points like we are yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Every perfectly trained disciple is like his master (Luke 6:46). Our goal for every temptation that Satan places before us ought to be victory. Is it?