Monday, November 16, 2015

Into Temptation

“And lead us not into temptation….” --Matthew 6:13a [from The Lord’s Prayer]

Other dogs are one of Lexi’s greatest temptations on her morning walk. As soon as Lexi scents another dog, she stops walking and stares intently as it approaches. Most other dogs (except the best trained ones) stare back. Then both dogs begin barking at each other and straining at the leash. Obviously this is troublesome for the dog-walkers, so I try to divert Lexi from the stare-down. If the other dog is passing on the opposite side of the street, I can usually recall Lexi’s attention to me and to our walk with a verbal cue, like her name or “Leave it” or “Let’s walk.” If the dog is approaching us on our side of the street, then I direct Lexi to move well aside (usually into the grass). I ask her to sit and keep her eyes on me until the dog has passed. In truth her eyes tend to flick to one side and then back to me as she senses the dog nearby, but she can generally keep her seat. We can’t avoid meeting other dogs, so Lexi has to be taught to ignore them. Meanwhile, I’m leading her straight into temptation every time I take her for a walk. Maybe we feel like God leads us into temptation when we walk with him. Maybe we serve on a church committee where we can’t seem to avoid conflict with another committee member. Maybe we work to raise funds for a worthwhile cause, which kindles our greed. Maybe we achieve something significant for the community and then boast of our achievement. In trying to do what God has called us to do, we’re tempted to anger, selfishness, and pride. Why does God put us in a position to be tempted? Don’t we pray to God not to lead us into temptation? Certainly we hope God will steer us clear of temptation whenever possible. But is there any place where we can walk with him and avoid other people? I think instead we have to be taught by God’s grace to ignore spitefulness, extravagance, admiration, jealousy, insecurity, and other temptations. God isn’t leading us into temptation when we walk with him; he’s leading us through it.

Dear God, Lead me through temptation when I walk with you. Amen

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