Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
~ Matt 6:11
It is impossible to live in this world and escape temptation. In olden times men fled away from active life and from human companionships, hoping thus to evade enticement to evil. But they were not successful; for wherever they went they carried in their own hearts a fountain of corruption, and were thus perpetually exposed to temptation. The only door of escape from all temptation is the door that leads into heaven. We grieve over our friends whom the Lord calls away, the little child in its sweet innocence, the mother in her ripened saintliness, the young man in his pride of strength; but do we ever think that we have far more reason for anxiety, possibly for grief, over those who live and have to battle with sin in this world? Those who have passed inside, in the victorious release of Christian faith, are for ever secure; but those yet in the sore battle are still in peril.
This petition is a prayer that we may never be called needlessly to meet temptation. Sometimes God wants us to be tried, because we can grow strong only through victory. We have a word of Scripture which says: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.” Yet we ought never ourselves to seek anyway of life in which we shall have to be exposed to the peril of conflict with sin. Temptation is too terrible an experience, fraught with too much danger, to be sought by us, or ever encountered save when God leads us in the path on which it lies. We must never rush unbidden or unsent into any spiritual danger. There are no promises for presumption. “It is written,” said the Master, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” When God sends us into danger, we are under His protection; when we go where He does not send us, we go unsheltered.