To say "lead us not into temptation" does not … mean that God himself causes people to be tempted. … First, it means "let us escape the great tribulation, the great testing, that is coming on all the world." [Second], it means "do not let us be led into temptation that we will be unable to bear." … Finally, it means "Enable us to pass safely through the testing of our faith."
Many assure us that Jesus really means "keep us away from temptation," or "lead us out of temptation," or "remind us that you never tempt us." Of course none of these things is what Jesus actually said. He told us to beg God not to put us to a test, presumably because we would fail it. What a vote of confidence in us! What a vote of confidence in God! What a way to conclude a conversation!
[I]f we spend all our effort on our own white-knuckled struggle against a temptation, it grows bigger and bigger.
The way we tinker with our temptations and tweak our reasons for acting on them are indications that we actually enjoy dancing the tango with the Devil.
God has mercifully made the fantasies … so preposterously unrewarding that we are forced to turn to him for help and for mercy.
We seek wealth and find we've accumulated worthless pieces of paper. We seek security and find we've acquired the means to blow ourselves and our little earth to smithereens. We seek carnal indulgence only to find ourselves involved in the prevailing erotomania.
Evil that masquerades as an angel of light is commonplace. We need help. And we need help even when we don't know we need help. Especially when we don't know we need help.
In praying to God to deliver us we acknowledge ...1
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