December 27 - LD 52, Day 4: The Prayer for Deliverance from Temptation
by Rev. Arie den Hartog
Read: James 1:12-21
Temptation is a strong appeal to our sinful natures to draw us away from God and to lead us into a life of evil. This evil is presented as though it were actually something good, something that can give us innocent pleasure and satisfaction. On the other hand, remaining faithful to the Lord and His commandments is presented as something evil and burdensome. The devil, working in temptation, presents the way of the Lord as though following this way will in fact cause us to miss some great good and pleasure in our lives in the world, or perhaps pass by opportunities for great riches, real lasting glory or honour in the world.
The words of this petition present some difficulties to our understanding. These words do not mean that God is the author of temptation. We know that God does not tempt us with sin. James tells us this: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man” (Jam 1: 13).
The wording of the sixth petition does teach us that God is sovereign even over temptation and does sometimes give us over to temptation to chasten us for our own sin of pride or self-reliance. There are some classic biblical examples of this. David was led into the temptation of numbering Israel so he could become proud and trust in the greatness of his own armies to deliver Israel from the evil of all enemies. Peter was led into the great evil of boasting in himself that he was actually stronger than all the other disciples of the Lord. He was led into the temptation of denying His own beloved Lord and falling grievously.
The devil alone tempts us. He tempts us by appealing to the evil lusts that reside in our sinful nature. Read what James has to say about this. The devil can tempt us only when we are drawn away of our own lust, and enticed to agree with him in his temptation. If God does not deliver us from temptation, the lust of our own sinful natures will bring us down to death. The devil constantly assails us with temptation, virtually from the moment we awake in the morning to the time we close our eyes and sleep. He tempts us in every sphere of our lives, even while we are in church.
We yield to temptation long before we fall into sin. Let no one imagine that as long as temptation has not led us into actually doing some great evil in our lives, we have not yet fallen. One of the crucial things we must understand about sin is that sin begins with the heart and the thoughts of our minds. As soon as we have given in to temptation in our hearts and begun to desire that which the devil presents to us in a temptation, we have already fallen. If we continue in this desire, it will lead us to sinful purposes and plans, and finally to sinful works in our lives. These evil works will bring upon us the wrath and judgment of God.
When we yield to temptation, the world mocks us and at times even blasphemes the name of God. Jesus Christ, Who has saved us by His great love for us, is deeply grieved, and His name, which we as Christians bear, is dishonoured. When we are led into temptation, we are for a time estranged from God in our lives and can no longer experience the great blessings of salvation and communion with Him. We need to pray daily that God will deliver us from all temptation!
- Date: December 27
Rev. Arie denHartog (Wife: Sherry)
Ordained: October 1974
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1974; Foreign Missionary, Singapore - 1979; Randolph, WI - 1987; Redlands, CA - 1990; Minister-on-Loan, Singapore - 2001; Southwest, Grandville, MI - 2005; emeritus, Dec.31, 2016Website: www.southwestprc.org/
Address4895 Ivanrest Ave. SW
State or ProvinceMichigan
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