So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (I Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13 NIV)
Jesus taught this prayer to his disciples in the common everyday language of the Jewish people – Aramaic. The word that is translated as “temptation” in most English Bibles actually means “wrong thinking or testing”, according to Chaim Bentorah who is a lifelong Hebrew scholar. I understand this phrase in Matthew to mean – Father, don’t let my own wrong or flawed thinking influence me to sin, or don’t let the trials and tests I am going through cause me to succumb to sin.
James teaches us, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created,” (James 1:12-18).
God can not tempt us – it would be against His nature. He will not, He can not do anything that is not in keeping with His nature. But He does allow us to be tested. Jesus himself, “was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil,” (Matthew 4:1). The author of Hebrews says, “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin,” (Hebrew 4:15). The author of Hebrew also encourages us by explaining Jesus’ temptation in this way, “because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted,” (Hebrews 2:18).
We will have times of testing and trials. In those times – pray to God, read His word, use God’s truth to help us decide how to respond to our testing and to our trials, so we do not sin.