A Bible Reading
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one: for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. (Matthew 6:13)
Blackberry bushes are a rapidly encroaching species. Their low hanging branches rest on the ground where they sprout roots, and a new bush is created.
There are two wild cherry trees in my garden which blossom magnificently at this time of year. So it was that I recognised a young wild cherry tree on the roadside verge, struggling to rise above encroached blackberry bushes. I donned a visor and old clothing and returned with a cutting tool.
The brambles were not giving in easily. They stuck to my clothing and lashed back at my head. It made me think of the difficulty in freeing myself from creeping temptations. Just like the thorny blackberry branches, those many small temptations keep tagging onto our lives.
I have never suffered from a shortage of temptations, particularly when I feel tired after a busy day. Once indulged, a temptation is easy to repeat. That initial unnecessary visit to grab a choc ice from the freezer quickly becomes a secretive routine.
The cherry tree has been struggling to escape the brambles for many years. Its trunk, now revealed, had grown horizontally until light glimmered above it. With help, it now has the chance to grow upwards freely.
God’s people have struggled with temptation from the very beginning of time. Not just in the Garden of Eden, but throughout the Old Testament story of the Jews. God came in the person of Jesus Christ to grant us a clean sheet in heaven and to give us the reason to resist further temptation.
Temptation can be overcome, particularly when we ask for help from God. That is where I pause for thought during the Lord’s prayer.
Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory
Forever and ever.