Q. What does the sixth petition mean?
A. “And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one” means: By ourselves we are too weak to hold our own even for a moment (1). And our sworn enemies- the devil (2), the world (3) and our own flesh- (4) never stop attacking us. And so, Lord, uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit, so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle (5), but may firmly resist our enemies until we finally win the complete victory (6).
Read: (1) Ps. 103:14-16; John 15:1-5; (2) 2 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 6:10-13; 1 Pet. 5:8; (3) John 15:18-21; (4) Rom. 7:23; Gal. 5:17; (5) Matt. 10:19-20; 26:41; Mark 13:33; Rom. 5:3-5; (6) 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23.
There was a meme of a kid laying down on the floor with his feet inside of the house and the rest of his body lying outside of the door. Apparently his mom had told him that he couldn’t go outside. It is pretty funny when you see it. But thinking about it I couldn’t help but notice that this is us, flirting with sin. We pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” while flirting with sin. So let’s study question 126 of The Heidelberg Catechism and see what we need to learn for our lives.
Let’s be brutally honest. When we struggle with a certain sin, our flesh pulls us towards it and let’s face it, most of the times we give in. We struggle with the guilt and we repent, but then again, we don’t take radical measures as to not expose ourselves to the temptation. We are too weak and we are too foolish. Yes, we are called to ask our Father to save us from Satan and his schemes, but we too have a responsibility. 2 Timothy 2:22 for example teaches us to flee from lusts in pursue of righteousness, faith, love and peace. Matthew 5:30 tells us to cut our right hand and throw it away if it causes us to stumble. Radical, meaningful, extreme measures to avoid sin as we rely on God for strength and deliverance so that we are not enticed by it any longer.
But the word temptation can also mean trial. And so, here, the Bible also teaches us that it is ok for us to plead with God when we are suffering to be strengthened and delivered because He is the only one in which we can rely on.
This sixth petition is a sweet reminder that whether we are struggling with sin or with trial, our strength and deliverance comes from God alone. In humble submission we pray and we wait. But as we wait we also act and do whatever it takes to avoid sin. We do whatever it takes to trust His plans in our trials even when everything seems to be going wrong. And we are strengthened, understanding that His Word, His plan and His amazing salvation has already empowered us from it all.
So sister, I don’t know what sin you are struggling with but I want to ask you: are you that little kid laying on the ground flirting with sin? Or are you fully submitting to god and taking radical actions to avoid sin? Are you going through a time of trial and feeling hopeless? Will you pray to be delivered and wait in full trust that in due timing God will fully deliver you? May it be so.