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Archive for March 13th, 2015

I came across the meme above as I looked for one for the previous article on the 6th Petition. I think the meme above is kind of snarky, anti-meme, that is, anti  Christ.  ‘Okay, You want us not to go into temptation, so just tell it where it is…(Got Him!)”.  Our Father has told us already the exact locations of temptation:  the flesh, the world and devil.  The Lord shows us precisely what temptation is,  by the mirror of the 10 Commandments and the temptation to break each and every commandment…and have. So in the Lord’s Prayer, before we even get to the last petitions about temptation and evil, we have prayed:  “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”.  In Christ’s forgiveness for the tempted and the fallen, including folks who write snark, we pray, Lead us not into temptation.  Temptation:  We’ve been there and done that and Jesus Christ has been there and borne that. We need to have this prayer petition at the ready at all times…especially in reading “clever” stuff!

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From Dr. Luther’s The Small Catechism, The Lord’s Prayer, Explanation of the 6th Petition, “Lead us not into temptation”

“Temptation…is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil. 

For in the flesh we dwell and carry the old Adam about our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to unchastity, laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of evil lusts which cleave to us by nature, and to which we are incited by the society and example of other people and by things  we hear and see, which often wound and inflame even an innocent heart.” (emphasis my own)

The society and example of other people in our day and time is seen, heard, read and felt  on television, radio and the internet.  For instance: The whole purpose of  advertising has one clear goal and that is coveting.  This means breaking the 9th and 10th commandments to inculcate the desire, even the lust, to want more,to buy more, to have joy and happiness. Even the innocent heart can be so inflamed! And as it is written, “Covetousness is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5and we are back to the 1st Commandment.  It is one vicious circle. All the breaking of the Law is to steal from God’s glory…. and from His help in the time of temptation and trial.   The society of advertisers know this intrinsically as the lust of the flesh inheres in us all.  A DVR sure does help in order to fast forward through the commercials!  But that is only a stop gap measure.  The encouragement today is the last paragraphs of Pr. Luther’s explanation of the 6th petition:

 “…we Christians must be armed and prepared for (the devil’s) incessant attacks. Then we shall not go about securely and heedlessly as if the devil were far from us but shall at all times expect his blows and parry them. Even if at present I am chaste, patient, kind, and firm in faith, the devil is likely in this very hour to send such a shaft into my heart that I can scarcely stand, for he is an enemy who never stops or becomes weary; when one attack ceases, new ones always arise.

At such times your only help or comfort is to take refuge in the Lord’s Prayer and to appeal to God from your heart, “Dear Father, Thou halt commanded me to pray; let me not fall because of temptation.” Then you will see the temptation cease and eventually admit defeat. Otherwise, if you attempt to help yourself by your own thoughts and counsels, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil a better opening. For he has a serpent’s head; if it finds an opening into which it can slip, the whole body will irresistibly follow. But prayer can resist him and drive him back.”

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