And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…

Matthew 6:13

We are not ready for any and all temptations. We are wise to realize this, to be aware of our weaknesses, to “not think too highly” of ourselves, but rather think of ourselves “with sober judgment” (Rom. 12:3), realizing areas in our lives where we need to grow more. Our task as followers to Christ is to be faithful to the things that God has called us to do, where God has called us to be, and to let Him use these circumstances and people to mature us and strengthen us.

Jude wrote of those in the First Century churches who had the opposite spirit, who “slander celestial beings” and “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand” (Jude 8,10). He mentioned that even Michael the Archangel was careful in disputing with Satan and “did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him” (Jude 9).

Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” addresses Satan when it says, “His craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate. On earth is not his equal.” (Gross Macht und viel List Sein grausam Ruestic ist. Auf Erd ist nicht seinsgleichen.) We are not Satan’s equal, and we would be foolish to suppose ourselves to be. Our confidence is in the grace, protection, strength, and power of God, for He is certainly the Superior to Satan.

We humans are typically passionate about our own advancement, about our reputation, our careers, our projects, and anything that has our name attached to it. We would be wise, however, if we were even more passionate about the work of God within us and through us to others. If we were focused on our spiritual growth and maturity, then we would also be focused on the needs of others, how we can help others. Often we leap at opportunities we are not ready for, and we feel sad and rejected when the position goes to another. We should instead be grateful for God’s protection, that God did not want to put us into a situation we were not ready to handle.

To Baruch the Lord said, “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not” (Jeremiah 45:5). To seek great things for ourselves will surely lead us into ways of temptation, and will work against the purposes of God.

“May God’s will be done” – even if it means my abasement, or even my death. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Selfish ambition is a burden we are not meant to carry. Let others fight your battles, instead you go about fighting for God, seeking to do good for others. Let God deliver you from temptation through the proper exercise of His leadership in your life.

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