Is Temptation Avoidable?
It’s mid-November and starting to get cold in Illinois. If the weather forecasters are correct we’re going to have a significant accumulation of snow this weekend! When it starts to get cold we’re reminded we need to prepare for the cold weather. In particular it’s time to have the furnace checked. It’s wise to do some preventative maintenance so the furnace doesn’t go out on us when we need it most.
I’d like to talk about doing some preventative maintenance for our souls. What I mean by this is doing something now to prevent a spiritual problem for us later. This idea came to mind as I was reading Luke 22. This chapter describes the last night of Jesus’ life, just before He was arrested. Luke tells us that after having the Passover meal Jesus,
. . . came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. Luke 22:39
Jesus knew what was ahead. He knew how difficult it was going to be for everyone. Jesus warned them about what they were going to face. Earlier in the evening he said:
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you [all], that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31-32
Although it sounds like a hopeless situation it was anything but that. Jesus told them what they needed to do to prepare for the difficult time ahead.
And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:40
Jesus practiced what He preached. He had already prayed for them and after saying this He went away and prayed some more.
The word temptation means “to endeavor or attempt to cause someone to sin—‘to tempt, to trap, to lead into temptation” (Louw-Nida). In a short time all the disciples would flee and Peter would lie about knowing Him (Luke 22:54-62). They all said they wouldn’t desert him and Peter strenuously objected when told he would deny knowing Jesus.
Are we any different than they when we tell ourselves we won’t fall into the trap of sin again? Are we different when we deny that temptation is a problem? Are we any different when we think we can face our spiritual enemies unprepared? Why is it that we’re surprised when we fail? When we get angry? When we lie? When we gossip about others? When we’re abusive? When we view porn? When we get drunk or high? When we’re lazy and waste the day away?
Jesus told His disciples and us there is some preventative maintenance we can do for our souls. Pray. If we’re going to take Jesus seriously we need to make it a priority to pray every day that we do “not enter into temptation.” It doesn’t matter what the temptation is. If we aren’t praying about it, we’re on our own instead of having the Father’s help. That isn’t a good place to be.
Right now think about what temptations you are going to face today and need help with today. Pray now and through the day that God will help you to “not enter into temptation.”
Do you have a question or comment? I’d love to hear from you below.