Watch and Pray
We are entering that storm season that gives my children the most anxiety. Whenever it is going to rain, or a storm is forecast, my children ask the same questions over and over again. Is it going to lightning? Will trees fall down? Ruth and I have to be careful how we talk about a storm that has warned severity. It is inevitable; a storm will come, and we should be prepared. In thisweek’s upcoming passage for Sunday, Matthew 18 says, “For it is necessary that temptations come…” Elsewhere, we read in
I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” It seems that scripture is very clear. Like the rainy storm season in Nashville can be expected, so can temptation for the believer. It is common to man.
The danger of temptation being common to man, is that we begin to pay it no regard. I commented to Ruth recently about this when watching the news. One particular channel calls everything, “Code Red.” It hardly carries the same impact when a light rain is Code Red as well as a tornado warning. It begins to become commonplace, and I find myself not taking the warning as seriously. However, because something becomes common, because it is necessary that temptation comes, we should always be on guard.
Christ calls us to watch and pray. We are to be prepared, to have a plan of escape, and to always be on guard. When Christ was in the garden praying before he was to be handed over to be put on trial, to suffer, and ultimately to face the cross, Jesus endured great temptation in the garden. He was down on His knees, praying that God would help him. He prayed that if there be any way this cup could pass from him, that it might. Matthew says that he was distressed and sorrowful. Yet every time he returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping. SLEEPING! On the night of his impending betrayal, they could not keep their eyes open. He said, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.”
If we are to expect that it is necessary that temptation will come, and that it is common among all men, then we would do well to be at the ready for when it arises. Set this in your mind always: “Watch and pray.” Watch for it may arise at any time. There is no storm season when we are expecting it. It may arise in a moment, or it may grow as we anticipate its coming. Pray, because without Christ’s help and the Spirit who dwells in us, we will discover just how weak the flesh is. It is temptation season now. Rise to the occasion, drop to your knees daily, and seek the power from above. Then, as it is promised, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Grace and peace,