Recently, while visiting a friend in the hospital, I noticed a sign on the door to his room: “FALL RISK”. The sign was a message to hospital staff to carefully watch this patient as he was unsteady on his feet and prone to falling. I paused at his door for a moment, thinking of how we are prone to falling spiritually, as Scripture warns: “So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). We know that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), and that being too sure of ourselves leads to trouble.
Yet it was a brash Simon Peter, suffering with foot-in-mouth disease, who boasted to Jesus, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you” (Matthew 26:33). But Jesus warned Peter that Satan desired to sift him like wheat (Luke 22:31), prompting Jesus to command him, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial (peirasmos)(Luke 22:40). In another instance, Jesus gets up from prayer and finds the disciples sleeping, and asks them: “Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial (peirasmos)” (Matthew 26:41). Jesus asks them to pray, not for Him, but for themselves; the hour of peirasmos has come upon them. They must pray that the terror of that night be a ‘peirasmos-trial’ to strengthen their faith, rather than a ‘peiramos-temptation’ to desert their Lord.
Scripture teaches that temptation in itself is not a sin, as even Jesus was tempted (peirazomai) in every way that we are, yet without leading Him to sin (Hebrews 4:15). It is good to remember this as we pray God’s promise to us: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, The Message). Lord, help me today not to let Satan turn a trial into a temptation to evil. I pray, knowing Your promise to help me; you will deliver me from evil.
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)