Vigilance against temptation – Part 1
Christ warned His disciples to “watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” He was preparing them for the glory ahead because He knew that they would carry on with the work and ministry He had started. While the disciples thought it was a warning for that moment, Jesus was referring to being watchful throughout their lives. This would enable them overcome all trials, troubles and temptation until they get to heaven.
Although Christ was referring directly to His disciples, it is also a personal warning to every believer to be vigilant. Watching is keeping our minds alert. While we watch, we must also pray for divine strength to overcome the tempter’s wiles. Unfortunately, there are people like Simon Peter who raised their self-confidence above the Saviour. Such people must “take heed lest (they) fall.” God moderates our temptation. He is faithful and will not “suffer (us) to be tempted above that (we) are able; but will with the temptation also make a way for escape that (we) may be able to bear it.” Whatever happens, His sustaining grace will see us through.
Temptation is real and common to all: sinners and saints, young and old, rich and poor. Even the Saviour was tempted. Temptation is enticement or invitation to do evil. It comes through what we see, interaction with other people, flattery or offer of pleasure while the consequential pain, peril or perdition is hidden. Satan recruits those he has tempted and conquered to tempt others.
But we can overcome tempters and temptresses by faith in Christ and the word, which we have heard and believed. The practical, purposeful and positive use of the word enables us to defeat the devil. Therefore, we must be active in quoting the word during temptation and flee from it.
Believers’ watchfulness against temptation and sin should be constant and not occasional. “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Temptation comes to everyone. Just as God is no respecter of persons, so is Satan in bringing temptation to everyone. The same way we secure and watch over our precious earthly possessions, we must watch over our souls, salvation and eternal inheritance, which are worth more than earthly possessions. Those who are not watchful are tricked and defeated by the tempter.
As believers, we must, one, watch at the gate of Eden’s habitation. Adam and Eve should have been watchful because of posterity. Two, watch over our birthright. Esau lost his birthright because he failed to watch. Three, watch from the high gate of greed and covetousness as Achan. Four, watch against the lust of Samson. He was not watchful against his desire for pleasures with Delilah. Five, watch against the inordinate ambition of Absalom. Satan used his deadly ambition against him. Six, watch against the propensity for lust as with Solomon. Seven, watch against corruption and avarice. Prosperity does not replace purity in our lives and cannot take anyone to heaven.
Satan knew that he has lost his place in heaven, and he does not want anyone to get there. Therefore, we must not get into conversation with him. We must beware of anyone who confronts and contradicts the word of God, ascribes wrong intention to God and promotes idolatry in any form. When the tempter becomes your friend, he creates a mental picture in your mind, which he uses to conquer you. This makes the conquered person a tool in the hand of Satan to make the nearest person to him or her fall.
• Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 10:12-14; 1 John 5:21; Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Genesis 3:1-6.