Luke 11:4c (ESV)
“And lead us not into temptation.”
God does not lead us into temptation. Yes, when we recite The Lord’s Prayer we say, “Lead us not into temptation.” Speaking for myself, I’m sure God does not lead me into temptation because I do a real good job all on my own. The problem here is the English translation. The word translated as “temptation” could be better translated “test.” This subtle change makes a big difference, “Lead us not into testing.” When I think being tempted it has a hopeless feel. I’m going to lose. When I think being tested it has a hopeful feel. I know testing is part of this Christian walk; hopefully, if I’m going to be tested there is the possibility of passing. Of course, in reality I fail many of those tests too! But the point is, when Jesus taught us these words, he knew we didn’t like to be tested.
We don’t like being tested. In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is teaching us to pray boldly. In this case, if you don’t want to be subjected to a test, then boldly pray for God to excuse you. Now, I’m not making any promises. This is between you and God. There are times I’ve prayed to the Lord and had to take the test anyway … a lot like my grade school experience!
The next time you feel a test coming ‘round, follow Jesus’ lead, and pray boldly, “Lord, not this test!” Our hope rests in this truth: we worship a merciful God.