“Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil”
The Lord’s Prayer is misunderstood. It’s mystical. But it’s also foundational and informative. Ultimately it’s our “feedback” to God.
In the second section of The Lord’s Prayer, the Petitions, we first ask Him for our physical needs, then about our spiritual condition (to be forgiven as we forgive). Now, we ask the Lord to keep us from things that are harmful to us—to not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil.
This is a hard line because so often, the things that we’re asking the Lord to protect us from are the things that we have set up around ourselves due to the way that we love and are comforted by our sin. Sin is the way that we try to control the world around us. Especially for those of us in the west, at this point in time, this is a huge issue because so much of our lives revolve around trying to set up security for ourselves—comfort, protection, safety, etc. This is basically asking the Lord to disrupt all of that—to keep us from the things that would cause us to depend less on Him. So, the fence around my house may be a false sense of security. My savings account may be a false sense of security. My reputation for being a “great, spiritual man” or for “having all of my spiritual ducks in a row” may be my false sense of security. Those things may be the evil things lurking around me that I need the Lord to come in and disrupt in order to keep me from evil.
Evil might not necessarily be alcohol and cigarettes. It might not be the devil on my shoulder so much as my own “structure of spirituality” that I put around myself to justify myself. It may be the so-called good things that I am asking Jesus to come disrupt in my life in order to make me dependent upon Him.
I think that it’s interesting to note that this is the crescendo of the Petition Section of the Lord’s Prayer.