Temptation is Being Tricked to be Irresponsible
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:13 NKJV)
Dietrich Bonhöffer once said: Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
Every behavior requires a choice. Every choice is based on a belief. To properly respond (or to make the right choice in a situation) requires knowing what is right. But as humans we don’t always know what is right. Humans have the freedom to choose. God, however, knows what is the right/correct response in every area of belief.
God knows how to respond correctly in every situation. God never responds wrongly. Humans don’t know how to respond correctly. We may have the freedom to choose, but we don’t choose wisely. We need to know how to respond.
Satan can “trick” us into believing what we choose is right. Temptation therefore can be defined as humans who are tricked by Satan to be irresponsible.
This is why Jesus prays that we would not be led into temptation. Jesus is basically asking in His prayer – his model for us to pray – that God show the way to respond correctly in all situations. Jesus knows that God never responds wrongly. Jesus knows that we as humans can easily be tricked by Satan. Satan, since he knows only how to lie, can only respond irresponsibly to every situation. He may think it helps him and his kingdom. However, God gave humans the free choice to follow God. So Satan’s attempts at tricking us will not be effectual in the long-term.
Jesus wants to prevent us from following Satan, who only wants us to act in an irresponsible fashion. Therefore, Jesus instructs us to pray to God and ask Him how to act in a given situation. Jesus wants us to avoid being tricked.