Entering Into Temptation

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Q. “Eva” asks, “What did the blessed Lord mean when He said to Peter, “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation?” What is entering into temptation? (Matt. 26:4141Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)).
A. The Lord desires his disciples to “watch and pray,” instead of which they slept and prayed not, and when the hour of temptation came they fled; and Peter, who was so confident of his, own strength — saying, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” — most signally failed. What brought him into the judgment hall? Why did he thus “enter into temptation?” — this was entering into temptation. He had not been told to do so. In Matthew 26:5858But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. (Matthew 26:58), Peter followed Christ “afar off,” and “went in and sat with the servants to see the end.” He “entered into temptation.” There he was at that moment — flesh unjudged and trusted in — prayer and watchfulness wanting — a moral distance between him and Christ —temptation entered upon, and unhallowed companionship sought. What a fit one was he at that moment to be the sport of Satan.
How often do the Lord’s people thus fail? Instead of distrusting themselves, they enter into this or that, and when the time of trial comes, there is failure and a practical denial of Christ. The flesh has been unjudged, and leads them where the Spirit never would have led.
Thus we see many around us — with unjudged flesh — no moral nearness to Christ — temptations of one sort or another sometimes unthinkingly entered upon —an infidel publication opened and read — an association of one kind or other taken up — unhallowed companionship sought, or fallen in with, without divinely given moral courage to resist them — the ear opened to a suggestion of one kind or other which is known to be subversive to divine truth — and thus the poor, weak vessel becomes a stranded one on the shores of infidelity, or the clear divine testimony of one who might have been a faithful, firm, and devoted disciple, lost to Christ, through the machinations of an ever watchful enemy.
All these things, and many more of a like nature, come under the term “entering into temptation.” It is the exercise of one’s own will and the disregard of the will of the Lord — self trusted in, and “wisdom from above” unsought.
It would be a useful question to ask oneself, with regard to everything in which one is engaged — whether of a religions nature, or the business or other occupations of life, — “Am I sure that Christ has sent me here? — would He have me engaged in this association or that occupation? — would He have me read this book or take part in this or that folly?” If one cannot satisfactorily answer before the Lord, and to Him, such questions, depend upon it, we have engaged in that which is the exercise of our own wills, and thus have “entered into temptation.” We cannot count upon the result if we do these things. No doubt, God will take care of His own to the end — of this I am sure — but I cannot count upon Him if I “enter into temptation.” I may have to learn my folly, like Peter, by a deep and shameful fall. Oh, for a more thorough and growing distrust in self! If this was more fully felt, we would see but little of the shameful failures we have to mourn.
How can I expect to be preserved from contamination if I enter into some place, or companionship, or occupation which the Lord would not sanction, and to which He would not have me go? As long as I am in the path of obedience, I can count with the utmost confidence upon the care and protection of the Lord. He charges Himself with all the rest when I am there. But the moment I get out of this path I have left the place where He would have me, and where I could count with all confidence upon his care and love.
Depend upon it, the more we know the more we will distrust self. The more knowledge, the more prayer, the more will our sense of dependence upon the Lord grow and increase, so that we will never move one step till we know His mind and will.
I have answered your question at length, dear friend, with the earnest desire that we may be led to seek the paths of life with a single eye, and avoid “entering into temptation” — “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Words of Truth 1:234, 235.