But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
-2 Timothy 3:1-9
Isn’t it scary that, quite often, ancient words perfectly describe the times we’re in? This passage from 2 Timothy perfectly describes modern and, so-called, progressive thought. We’re a society that is constantly trying to look like we’re helping others, defending causes (even though they’re unjust), justifying our lifestyles by lifting up the lifestyles of others, rebelling against what we were raised by, and all this to appease our own guilty consciences. To this end, we become worse by our actions. The fact is (and you can see the evidence by the destruction our calls for justice cause) we’re making things worse. Why? Because instead of avoiding evil, we’re, at best, ignoring it and, at worst openly defending it. We let our feelings and emotions, our wounds and our scars lead us, instead of following the One who will bear scars in to eternity for the sake of those who believe. And what did He tell us to do to avoid such degradation? Many things, but today we’re focusing on “lead us not into temptation.”
If you’re like me, you’ve always found this statement to be a bit odd. Why would God lead us in to temptation? Didn’t James, the brother of Christ, write
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13)
God tempts no one, so why would He lead us in to temptation? If we look at what Jesus is trying to get us to focus on in the previous verses, and that is God’s glory, God’s will, God’s provision, and God’s mercy, let’s then consider this: Jesus is drawing us toward God’s Holiness. It is as if He is saying “Let us walk in Holiness, and not by what draws us away from you.” Jesus knows it is obedience to God that can lead us from Temptation. He drew from the Scriptures, which told us to cling to God’s law to deliver us from temptation. In the beginning, if Adam and Eve would have just listened to the one rule God gave them, it would have saved the world from the pain and sorrow of their sins. Yet it is only God who can do that, and in Jesus Christ, He did just that. We cannot look to our own strength for deliverance. We don’t have it in us. We must, then, fix our eyes on the Father through Jesus Christ. We must seek the Holiness of God, or be doomed to perpetually fall in to a cycle of pain and suffering at our own hands as we constantly disobey God’s will for us. It is by seeking the Holiness of God that we are led through temptation, as Jesus was in the wilderness, and it is by His Word that the enemy flees. So we must chase after that Holiness and seek His presence, for it is there that Temptation has no place, and only in His presence that we can have that life that is truly life. 2 Timothy 3:10-17 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.