Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Tuesday, April 15

Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
—Matthew 26:41

They peek out from behind unexpected curves. They pop up suddenly like overeager jack-in-the boxes. They take up residence close by our side, walking next to us like coveted companions. They might be called temptations, or diversions, or sins, or unhealthy patterns of behavior. No matter what we call them, they skirt around the periphery of our lives, seductively inviting us into their embrace.

When we wander unthinkingly into their arms, we usually find momentary excitement, pleasure and distraction. Over time, however, we realize that the arms that looked so promising actually clutch at us with a ferocity that keeps us imprisoned. What at first seemed ready to buoy us up with delight, instead drags us into trouble and trial.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told them to ask God to keep them from temptation and deliver them from evil. Jesus knew that our times of trial are times of deep internal spiritual conflict, and the only way to escape or turn from them altogether is to stay wakeful and prayerful. If we do not want to be carried unconsciously where we do not want to go, then we need to stir ourselves up, we need to hound heaven, persistent as a puppy unwilling to take rejection.

Evil never has the final word, but we do not want to find our joie de vivre whittled away, simply because we erringly slept, temptation and unhealthiness playing like happy bedfellows in the corners of our lives.

O God, lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.

The Signposts for April are written by Renée Miller and originally appeared on in May 2004.