When times of trouble or temptation come, first ask God for his help.
Luke 22: 39 – 40
Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’
Have you ever had that feeling that something’s about to happen, but you’re not quite sure what? Or, looking back, can you see times in your life where you now think, “I should have seen it coming!” – whatever “it” might be? Life changes suddenly, in small ways and in big ways, and we are not always ready for it. We wish we knew what was going to happen, ahead of time!
In today’s passage, this is the situation that Jesus’ disciples find themselves in. Actually, Jesus has already told them—several times previously—what is coming. But they still don’t get it. Maybe the unusual Passover meal that they have just celebrated has them thinking that something’s up. But here they are going out to the Mount of Olives to spend the night, just as they have on previous nights. Same old same old.
Jesus knows what this night will bring—for him, and for his friends. And so he urges them to pray that they will not fall into temptation. Really, Jesus is telling them to ask God to get them ready for whatever they will face. Jesus knows it will be temptation, even if they don’t know it. He knows it will be the temptation to turn their back on him and look out for themselves.
We can put ourselves in the disciples’ shoes, too. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, or even later today! Maybe we feel OK about what the new day will bring, or perhaps there’s a sense of trepidation. But we can pray to God now. We can ask him to prepare us for what is coming – for the nice things and the hard things. We can ask that he will take away our anxieties and help us to be ready to live like the daughter or son of God that we are, even if events surprise us. And we can ask him to help us not to fall into the temptation that will inevitably come, whatever the day has in store for us. After all, it’s God’s day, and we are his people whom he loves.
Head: Think about whether this makes sense: God knows everything, is in control, and loves us. We are not sure what is ahead. Asking God to help us with the coming day/week/month/…, and to live his way, is the obvious thing to do.
Heart: What stops you from spending time talking to God? If it’s forgetting, think about putting a note in your calendar.
Hands: Encourage a friend or fellow Growth Group member to keep talking to God.
Father, we thank you that you are a God who listens to us and wants us to call on you. Please help us to remember that you are our loving Father. We ask that we will remember you and come to you when things are hard, and also when they are not. Amen.
A song to listen to: A song to listen to: Only a Holy God
Living Church – Creek Road