“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13 NIV)
A few years ago, I changed my diet in order to get healthier. Word got around among friends and they were quite supportive, of course.
On one occasion, at a Tex-Mex restaurant, an appetizer of chips with chili-cheese dip arrived at the table. A friend knew that I wasn’t eating meat or cheese, and this was chili-cheese dip, amazingly processed. Realizing how close the chili-cheese dip was to me, he moved it to the other end of the table in order to deliver me from temptation.
It was a wonderfully thoughtful gesture. And completely unnecessary. Truth is, I had adapted well enough to my new way of eating that something that processed, not to mention chili and cheese, was not remotely tempting.
Sometimes living in the grace of Christ has a way of diminishing our taste for worldly things. Now, we can be fickle. We can also loose our taste for something for years upon years and still find temptation awakened one day.
However, perhaps one aspect of this petition from the prayer Jesus taught is that we would so grow in our love and joy in Christ that our taste for worldly things lessens. What looked good to us no longer does. We need the humility to avoid overconfidence about our ability not to be tempted by certain things. But it is a work of grace to have our appetites and desires transformed by the power of Christ.
Prayer: God, deliver me from tempting desires. In fact, replace my desires for worldly things with such desire for you that things that formerly tempted me no longer hold the power they once did. Amen.