Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. —Matthew 4:1
In Matthew 6:13 we read, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” God does not tempt anyone and we see that in James 1:13— “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” Satan is called the “tempter” in Matthew 4:3. He is the one behind temptation and “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14). Satan is the tempter, the enticer to sin. Our prayer is to ask our Father not to lead us into areas where we will be tempted. We are asking Him to keep us from those areas. This prayer gives an indication of an individual’s heart’s desire— they do not want to be tempted, fail and sin against God. That is the heart of this aspect of prayer.
Jesus was being led by the Spirit into the wilderness where there was going to be a confrontation with the devil. Adam and Eve failed when tempted by the devil one time, but Jesus was tempted in three specific areas and was victorious over the devil (Matthew 4:2-11). Adam and Eve were given the ability to choose to obey God or the devil and they failed when tempted and sinned against God. Jesus, because He is the Son of God, “has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15) and is our High Priest who is able to empathize with our weaknesses.
Being tempted? Remember Satan uses whatever evil desires may be in us to entice us to sin. He cannot make us sin, but uses our weaknesses (whatever they are) to tempt us to sin against the Lord God Almighty. There is this battle on the inside of us—
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” —Galatians 5:13-26
Dear Father, when I am tempted, please help me to take the “way of escape” (I Corinthians 10:13) that You have provided and do so immediately. Oh, that I would be discipline to react this way for Your honor and glory and in the power of the Holy Spirit. May it be so!