Eden & Exile - Temptation

“Lead Me Not Into Temptation”

 

So Jesus is giving his followers this template / model prayer. What would eventually be known in Church History as the Lords Prayer. “Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be thy name … “ The first time I remember hearing this prayer was as a child, with my mother, at an anonymous support group. It’s probably the first piece of biblical writing I ever memorized.

Towards the end of the prayer there’s a piece where Jesus says, “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil (or the evil one in some translations).

And as simple and pragmatic as the line is. a sort of  “Hey Lord, if you could help me avoid tempting situations or withstand the temptations when they come, that would be great.” Is how i grew up understanding the phrase.  

It’s interesting to me that immediately after Jesus receives the affirmation by his father during his baptism this happens.

Matt 4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him

I wonder as Jesus is modeling this prayer for his followers if there’s not a bit of intentionality in the wording “lead us not”. Like maybe he’s urging believers to petition God for the grace to avoid a situation that echoes his own.

Temptation, I believe, is not just fleshly inklings to do "bad things" it is being lead away from the intimate, affirming, presence of God and into isolation .

Isolation which often leads us to commune with the enemy. it is here the villains lies seem the most true and the only weapons we have to combat these fallacies are Knowing and being known by God.

The only defense of truth in the wilderness is intimacy with the word. The word who became body, soul and spirit and dwelled among us. Jesus.

Who’s experience in the desert is the redeeming echo of the fall of man and original sin. Alone and lied to. Words twisted. Greatness promised. My friend and pastor explains it like this, “Encouraging us to steal that which is promised before it's time has been the enemy's tool from day one.”  - Jamie George . The evil one found the first couple at a time when they were not walking with God in the cool of the day, He found Jesus, alone in the wilderness. Jesus, the second adam resists what the first adam and his wife could not.

I believe all of that is connected to this prayer, “Lead us not into temptation”. Jesus, I think, is both in a very personal way praying to not go through that again and is modeling for us a prayer of humility . Keep us in relationship and away from the desert . Keep us in healthy community and away from isolation. Lead us into Eden and out of Exile.

Love According to Wikipedia

Love According to Wikipedia

I write a lot of songs. I’ve been lucky enough to write with some

amazingly talented people over the years. Some famous, many

not, but all were very passionate about their craft. Songwriting

is such a strange process because for some it’s not really a process

at all; it’s more like an experience. For others, it’s much more

mechanical; show up at work, write some melodies, articulate

some lyrics, throw in a catchy guitar riff, and move on to the

next one.

Many of my songs are inspired by my woeful love life or the

romantic happenings of my friends. One of the recurring themes

in my lyrics and in my life is unrequited love. I have a skill for

being captivated by the uninterested. Don’t get me wrong, this

is not a cry for sympathy as much as it is a communication of

empathy. Most of us have experienced that pit in our stomachs

when someone we like walks into the room and we are dying

to confess our feelings, but we don’t for one reason or another.

Also, I imagine many of us have mustered up the courage to

actually speak our heart only to be let down easy with some sort

of “Thanks, but no thanks or, let’s be friends.”

Rejection hurts. Whether we are paralyzed by the fear of it or

immobilized by the feelings after it, it’s painful. I read an article

recently about how great music comes from broken people. For

me this is true. Some of my favorite songs are ref lections on my

least favorite moments in life. There were the girls with whom I

fell in love with the idea of them, the ladies with whom I landed

quickly in the friend zone, and the women who I actually shared

my feelings with only to be shot down like a bird in hunting

season. Yet, I have no regret of being willing to take chances

with love.

Does it hurt not to be loved back? Yes. I have been disappointed

and let down by those who used me as their backup plan, as the

emotional fill in or the fake boyfriend. Though, if I’m honest, I’m

guilty of the same with others. Everyone wants to feel love; we

crave it, live by it, and above all it’s part of who we are designed

to be. It’s no wonder the great commandment is to love God and

love others.

According to Wikipedia, “Unrequited love is love that is

not openly reciprocated or understood as such, even though

reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may or may

not be aware of the admirer’s deep affections.”

The greatest unrequited lover is Love Himself. He has deep

affection for me and sometimes I am completely oblivious.

Sometimes I make God the backup plan. I give Him a call when

I’m a little sad or lonely. I send Him a message when things with

whatever idol I’ve replaced Him with aren’t going so well. I put

Him in the friend zone and only allow my ability to give and

receive love to go so deep.

One of the worship leaders I played with years ago used to say,

“Christians don’t tell lies, they just sing them.” “…I give you my

heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone” or “All I want

is you…” If grace is God saying “I love you,” and worship is us

responding with “I love you too”, my worship has to be more

than empty adoration sing-a-longs. I have to live love.

There is a God in Heaven who is desperately longing for a

relationship with me. The beautiful part is He loved us first, with

no hesitation, and put all His cards on the table. The cross stands

as a shameless display to win my affection. The Groom is down

on one knee, ring box open, saying, “I know you don’t really

know me, but you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve

been watching you for a while, for your whole life in fact. I love

everything you do. I see so much goodness in you. I want to spend

all of my time getting to know you better from now until forever.

I’d be honored if you would let me.” And sometimes I say no.

While many of my songs are about unrequited love, there’s an

Author writing the poems and prose of eternity on the pages

of humanity with a pen dipped in the ink of compassion. How

incredible is the invitation to have a part in this love story?