I eagerly navigated the side streets of my neighborhood with my other seven-year-old friends, my father close behind as our chaperone. It was Halloween and certain houses were definitely on our shortlist, known for giving out large candy bars or generous snacks. As we made a beeline for one of these houses, we were greeted with an unexpected surprise, the owners were not home. No worries, they left a bag of candy on a chair on their porch with a sign,
Happy Halloween! Take One.
I quickly stepped up and spied a huge candy bar and took it. My friend, Jake, was next to me and grabbed about ten bars. Others soon followed, ignoring the sign. Yes! What a great idea! I turned back and was about to get another bar when a familiar voice interrupted.
“Jake! What did they sign say?” My father had observed the entire episode.
Jake grinned as he slyly answered my father. “Happy Halloween. Take…Some.”
“Really?” My father was not amused. “Put it back, leave some for the other kids.” I didn’t say a thing but quickly turned around, not completing my actions. It was a few seconds later, my sinful intentions would have become a reality, receiving the full brunt of my father’s anger.
…Pray that you may not enter into temptation.
Luke 22:40 (ESV)
…Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.
Luke 22:46 (ESV)
In these passages, Jesus admonished His disciples as they prayed with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, moments before He was betrayed by Judas and arrested. Not once, but twice, did Jesus warn His disciples to remain vigilant and pray that they do not enter into temptation. Why? Jesus understands our nature better than we understand ourselves. Even after nearly fifty years, I still fall victim to many temptations. Perhaps my current actions are not as puerile as taking extra candy, but all are equally as damning with far more dangerous consequences. Instead of blessing my relationship with God, I ignore or dishonor it. In situations when emotions are frenzied and running high, I let my guard down and join in the revelry of others around me. I begin to gossip, join in crude jokes or jesting, all in the name of fitting in and being part of the fun. Were there opportunities to avoid the temptation and eventual sin? Of course. Did I heed the warnings? Usually not.
I must continue to pray to not enter into temptation and allow God’s Holy Spirit to work within me rather than succumbing to my carnal desires. Thanks be to God that even when I am unfaithful to Him, He is always faithful to give me His grace and mercy.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.