I’ve been teaching my kids all the Bible stories in order, and we just finished with King David. His story starts so well, but he had one fatal flaw that basically wrecked his life. He gave into temptation, lusting for a beautiful woman who was another man’s wife, and after he got her pregnant, he then had her husband killed rather than admit his sin.
How Jesus Handled Temptation
If someone as great as David could fall so ignominiously, it got me thinking that someone simple and small as I could fall in much the same manner. So I turned to the scriptures to see how other spiritual giants had dealt with temptations. The best example I found was Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 4:1-11. When Satan tempted Jesus, He responded each time with a scripture. Let’s keep that in mind for later.
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
I next thought of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13:
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
That last part about “lead us not into temptation” seems so passive to me. I’m not a fan of putting the impetus on God to do the work for us. I think He wants us to do all that we can to show Him we’re not just dependent babies, but active agents. But how can we not fall under the power of temptation when it’s so… tempting?
A More Proactive Approach
I found the answer to that riddle from a different prophet named Nephi. His father Lehi had had a vision in which he saw a glorious tree and a rod of iron leading to it. Many people wanted to reach the tree and taste its fruit, but they could only do so by holding tightly to the rod of iron and pressing forward. Nephi’s older brothers didn’t understand the vision, but Nephi did, so he explained what it meant to them. In 1 Nephi 15:21-24, it says,
21 And it came to pass that they did speak unto me again, saying: What meaneth this thing which our father saw in a dream? What meaneth the tree which he saw?
22 And I said unto them: It was a representation of the tree of life.
23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?
24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.
The Ultimate Tool to Overcome Temptation
If we want to overcome temptation and not go astray, the best tool we have is the scriptures. As long as we are holding fast to the word of God by following the prophets, we will not be led into temptation, and we will be delivered from evil. I like listening to them as I work or relax. It helps me control my thoughts and stay focused.
I have faith that as I press forward in this endeavor, I won’t fall like King David, but I will triumph over my enemy like Jesus Christ. I hope we’ll all be able to do that.
And if you’re still wondering if the Lord’s prayer is all you need to be delivered from evil, don’t forget what happened to Aunt May.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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This post is timely, Robert. For creative purposes: the lead character in the novel discovers she has a power that will allow her to take revenge on someone who has been tormenting her for years. Will she or won’t she? If she gives in to temptation, how severe will be her revenge? Will the new-found power corrupt her? What might stop her from giving into temptation? Is it possible to use the kind of power she has with compassion and wisdom. These are just some of the questions the story will have to answer!
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Awesome! That sounds really cool, Lita. Thank you for sharing. It’s fun being on the same wavelength 😀
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It is indeed! 🙂
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