All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2nd Timothy 3:16-17.
In the book of Mathew, Jesus was seen reciting a prayer. In his prayer, he said, “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”. There exist countless controversies about Jesus’ statement in his prayer. Many scholars, as well as the Pope of the Catholic Church, think the Lord does not lead anyone into temptation rather we are tempted by our evil desires. In recent headlines, Pope Francis officially approved a change to the original translation of the Lord’s Prayer replacing “lead us not into temptation” with “do not let us fall into temptation”. Many scholars agree with the Pope in the grammatical context since they think the original text in the Bible means God leads people into temptation. What they do not understand is the purpose of “temptation” in the statement. Dr. Corne Bekker of Regent University School of Divinity told CBN news that “God allows us to be tempted and I think two things happen.” We get to know our individual selves more. Most importantly, we get to know God Himself. We have to remember the next phrase in the Lord’s Prayer – and deliver us from all evil. He is able to do that.
I strongly believe that we are not always tempted by our evil desires as we are mostly brainwashed to believe. One could be tempted in other forms. James records in his book, in James 1:13-14 ‘When tempted no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.’ The above scripture does not confirm that God cannot lead us into temptation but rather, it says God cannot be tempted by evil meaning when being tempted by our evil desires no one should blame God.
The story of Joseph is the story of a young boy who never asked for the trouble or temptation he encountered but he surely got into a peck of it. Joseph, the son of Jacob was led by the Lord into the house of Potiphar. While Joseph lived in the house of his master, The Lord was with him so he prospered. His master realized that the Lord was with him and placed him in charge of his household, and entrusted to his care everything he owned. But Joseph was tempted many times by Potiphar’s wife even though the Lord was with him. Was Joseph tempted because he was a fornicator? Or Was he tempted because of his evil desires? The answer is a big NO. God led Joseph to Potiphar’s house for good but not to be tempted by Potiphar’s wife. When his master heard the story of Joseph trying to sleep with his wife, he took Joseph to the prison. While Joseph was in prison, The Lord was with him, He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. When the Lord leads us into temptation, he provides a way out for us.
In Corinthians 10: 13 – No temptation has overtaken you accept what is common to mankind. And God is faithful he will not let you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Another fascinating story is the temptation of Jesus. The chapter four verse one of the books of Mathew records that, “Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil after fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” Do we think Jesus desired to be tempted or Jesus was tempted because of his evil desires? Jesus was led by the spirit – not an evil one but God the Holy Spirit. Jesus was tempted three times by the devil on the desert. The devil disgracefully left Jesus because he could not convince Jesus into falling into temptation.
God is Holy and Just not evil. He will never tempt us with evil. Temptations the Lord brings our way are tests and He will always provide a way out for us. The Lord’s Prayer is complete and perfect as the Lord; anyone who tries to change it is proving himself to be better than the Lord and would be thrown away like Satan at the beginning of time. Trust in the Lord’s word for his word is TRUE. Amen
GOD IS MY HELPER!!!
Compiled by David Adjei
Edited by Kofi Asante Twumasi
Editorial Assistant, UG Journals
University of Ghana