“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13 NIV)
Lots of “yes” trees in the Garden of Eden. Only one “no” tree. So, of course, we were hyper-focused on the “no” tree.
God’s provision far exceeded the limitations he set. But we were easily tempted by the one limitation, the one boundary given.
How could the first disciples hear this line in the prayer and their minds not race to the signature story of temptation in the early pages of God’s scriptural story?
Like the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness from the devil, the temptation that faced Adam and Eve questioned what God had said to them. In the temptations Jesus faced, the devil called into question the meaning of what God had said about him at his baptism. In the temptation that Adam and Eve faced, the serpent called into question God’s word and provision.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”” (Genesis 3:1 NIV)
Temptation often involves our suspicion that God is holding something back from us.
Actually, it’s true. In his instructions and commands, God does hold things back from us.
We are tempted to think that God is withholding from us simply to deny us something good. But what he withholds is because of love and for our good. God is looking out for us. And what he provides is greater and more generous than what he withholds.
When we pray concerning temptation, as Jesus taught, we are praying for the grace to remember God’s provision and God’s word to us, and for the grace to trust him.
Prayer: God, I am tempted to believe my doubts and disappointments more than your provision and word to me. Give me grace to remember your faithfulness and to trust you. Amen.