I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Laura Hardin
(WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
We all have triggers that make us susceptible to certain sin issues. Maybe it’s a careless word spoken by a family member, a micromanaging boss, or the potent ache of loneliness. As Christians, we often look at these familiar temptations with the eyes of faith, believing we are stronger than the last time we fell in this area.
God knows us better than we know ourselves.
Consider Peter. When Jesus told the disciples that they will all fall away from him, Peter confidently replied, “Even if everyone falls away, I will not” (Mark 14:27-29).
But Jesus knew Peter’s heart better than he knew his own. He knew his struggles with the fear of man and predicted that he would deny him that very night.
“If I have to die with you, I will never deny you,” Peter insisted, believing that he could never betray the one he had come to believe was the Messiah (Mark 10:31). He would rather die than be unfaithful. At least that’s how he felt in the moment.
We are not unlike Peter. When we feel close to God, we declare with heart and song that we will worship God with all that we have and all that we are. Because we feel strong spiritually, we think we can resist familiar temptations in our own strength.
Jesus knew that without divine help, Peter would do the exact opposite of his faith-filled words. After catching Peter, James and John asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, he specifically said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus singled Peter out, because Peter had every reason to be up praying with him, for he’d just been told that he was going to betray his Messiah. He should have been praying for God to intervene and empower him to be faithful. Instead he slept. Later that night, he denied Jesus three times before breaking down and weeping at his own folly.
I wonder what would have happened if he had prayed with Jesus that night. I wonder how this incident shaped Peter’s understanding of the role of prayer in the faithfulness of his children. As God’s beloved, we have everything we need to be faithful to our Lord when triggered. Let us pray and depend on the Holy Spirit within.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 Peter 4:7
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Questions to Reflect on:
1. What triggers you to act contrary to who you are in Christ? What has triggered you this way in the past?
2. As you look ahead to the day or the week ahead, when will you be most tempted to “do you” in replace of following God?
3. What sin areas do you feel will never change? How do the above verses on prayer speak to your feelings?