Handling Temptation

By Rev. JohnWesley

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13a

“And lead us not into temptation.” The word translated temptation, means trial of any kind. And so the English word temptation was formerly taken in an indifferent sense; although now it is usually understood of solicitation to sin. St. James uses the word in both these senses; first, in its general, then in its restrained, acceptation. He takes it in the former sense when he says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, [or approved of God,] he shall receive the crown of life” (1:12). He immediately adds, taking the word in the latter sense, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust,” or desire-drawn out of God, in whom alone he is safe- “and enticed”; caught as a fish with a bait. Then it is, when he is thus drawn away and enticed, that he properly enters into temptation. Then temptation covers him as a cloud; it overspreads his whole soul. Then how hardly shall he escape out of the snare!

Therefore, we beseech God “not to lead us into temptation,” that is, (seeing God tempteth no man,) not to suffer us to be led into it. “ But deliver us from evil,” rather-”from the evil one.” He is unquestionably the wicked one, emphatically so called, the prince and god of this world, who works with mighty power in the children of disobedience. But all those who are the children of God, by faith, are delivered out of his hands. He may fight against them; and so he will. But he cannot conquer, unless they betray their own souls. He may torment for a time, but he cannot destroy; for God is on their side, who will not fail, in the end, to “avenge his own elect, that cry unto him day and night.”

Lord, when we are tempted, suffer us not to enter into temptation! Make a way for us to escape, that the wicked one touch us not!

Compiled by Al Bryant, "The John Wesley Reader", Word Books. This book is currently available on the used book market. Please check the used book venders for this book at IMARC.