Wednesday, June 3, 2009

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

While the previous petitions have focused on the present, the final one looks forward to the future unknown. We will face temptations in life that are not obviously evil or sinful. They will look quite good – like Satan’s tempting of Jesus or Eve. They were beautiful, good options on the surface, but the results were fatal (or would have been, in Jesus’ case). We need protection and wisdom because “Dangers that don’t’ have the appearance of dangers are everywhere” (p. 190). I’ll end this walk through the Lord’s Prayer with a lengthy, challenging (particularly for pastors) quote from Peterson on the dangers of good-looking temptation:

I am no longer surprised that great evil finds its formation in places where people come to worship God yet are seduced into the pleasures of playing God. I am no longer surprised to recognize great evil in places of power, in business and government, for instance, where people have access to enormous resources to do good and yet are seduced into using the power to be powerful themselves. I am no longer surprised to come across great evil in families and marriages, where the opportunities for intimacy and affection are most accessible, and find that those opportunities have been squandered into seductions of depersonalized manipulation and control. Far more evil takes root in the places where goodness abounds than in desperate slums and the criminal underworld. Why should that surprise us? It got its start, after all, in Eden. (p. 194)

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