NAVIGATING LIFE

When was the last time you used a compass for navigating?

Are you someone who is naturally gifted at navigating without the use of an external compass?

I have never been in a situation where a compass was critical for navigating.

Compass use for me has been more recreational than a necessity.

Navigating streets and trails is one thing.

  • What about navigating life in general?
  • How do you know you are on the correct path for your life?
  • Who is leading you in navigating life?
  • What does Matthew 6:13 share about navigating life?

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

This verse is part of a prayer taught by Jesus to His followers, also known as disciples.

His disciples had asked Him to teach them to pray according to Luke 11:1.

Luke 11:2-4 is the parallel passage to Matthew 6:9-13.

The Gospel of Matthew places the instruction on prayer as part of a large section of various topics Jesus instructed both the crowds and His disciples.

Leading up to the “how to pray” example is instruction on “how not to pray”. (Matthew 6:5-8.)

The example prayer, often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, starts with acknowledging we have a heavenly Father who is in heaven and honoring His name. (Matthew 6:9)

Then the prayer expresses a desire for our heavenly Father’s kingdom and will that is followed in heaven also be done on earth. (Matthew 6:10)

Matthew 6:11-12 request daily sustenance and forgiveness from our heavenly Father while pledging to extend forgiveness to our fellow humans as well.

The final request used in this example of how to pray to our heavenly Father is shocking.

In the opening phrase of the verse, we are instructed by Jesus to ask our heavenly Father to not lead us into temptation.

Why do we need to ask our heavenly Father to assist us with navigating life away from temptation?

If our heavenly Father is a good and just God does this imply that He has or does lead us into temptation when we fail to pray this request?

Unlike the parallel passage in Luke 11:2-4, Matthew continues with the phrase: but deliver us from evil.

If we translate the original Greek phrase completely, the phrase reads:  but deliver us from the evil one.

Who is the evil one?

ESV  Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

As Genesis continues, having put doubt into the woman’s mind about what God had said, the woman then chooses to disobey the Lord’s command and Adam participates with her. (Genesis 3:2-6)

Next God appears on the scene and questions Adam first and then Eve about their disobedience. Adam blames God. Eve blames the serpent. Neither of them took responsibility for their failure to be obedient to their creator. (Genesis 3:7-13)

Then without even questioning the serpent the Lord curses the serpent:

ESV  Genesis 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The book of Job gives us more information about the evil one:

ESV  Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

ESV  Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”

ESV  Job 1:8 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

ESV  Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?

ESV  Job 1:10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

ESV  Job 1:11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”

Clearly, the evil one, Satan, also known as the serpent in Genesis, desires to cause humans to disobey and dishonor our heavenly Father.

Later in Job we learn that although Job had questioned the Lord allowing awful things to happen to him, he refused to curse or disobey the Lord. Instead, Job humbled himself before his creator and received instruction to pray for his friends who had failed to speak rightly about God to Job. (Job 42:8)

Skipping ahead in history, Matthew 4:1-11 shares how the evil one attempted to derail Jesus as well.

Important to note though, it was not the evil one who led Jesus into the desert to be tempted:

ESV  Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Jesus was led by the Spirit, also referred to as the Holy Ghost, part of what Christians refer to as the Trinity, the Godhead, Three in One.

While in the wilderness being tempted by the evil one, Jesus relied on the leading of the Spirit and the Holy Scriptures to defeat every temptation presented.

How does this relate to navigating life?

Adam and Eve failed the test or temptation because they chose themselves over remaining obedient to the Lord’s instructions.

Job overcame the test or temptation to disobey by seeking counsel from the Lord instead of his friends or his wife.

Jesus passed the test because He relied on the Spirit’s leading and the Holy Scriptures to deliver Him.

In our sample prayer, the Lord’s prayer, or better perhaps, the Disciples prayer, the point of verse 13 is that we are to rely on the lord to lead and deliver us out of any temptation, test, trial, that comes our way.

Praying to the Lord for His leadership and deliverance is the best plan for navigating life.

Reflection questions:

  • Are you relying on the Lord as your “compass” for navigating life?
  • If not, what has caused you to seek counsel away from the Lord?
  • If you are, what examples are you able to share where the Lord has delivered you from harm?
  • Are you praying for others to be lead and delivered by the Lord?
  • How can you model Matthew 6:13 to those around you through your actions and deeds rather than your words?
  • What other thoughts or ideas about the Lord’s prayer would you like to share?

Another prayer for navigating life:

ESV  Psalm 141:3-4 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Leave a comment on the blog to generate some group discussion.

Email me at [email protected] if you have a private question.

I’d love to hear from you!

We will continue with Matthew 6:14 next time.

Blessings,

Barbara Lynn

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