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April 23, 2013

Text:  “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36

Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives with his disciples. Across the valley stood the Temple. Peter, Andrew, James and John  remarked to Jesus about the beauty of the structure and also query him about his return.  This evokes from  the Lord two warnings. The first warning was about the destruction of Jerusalem. The second was about the day of Judgment. Our attention is now focused upon the second: “Watch yourselves!”

Notice whom Jesus says you should be watching: yourself. Don’t spend time scrutinizing others. You can neither control their behavior nor condemn their disobedience. The only person you can control is yourself.  Investigate yourself. You can correct your thinking, habits, likes and dislikes, and overt actions. The Holy Spirit wants to sanctify you, so do not  thwart him. “Do not quench the Holy Spirit”. I Thessalonians 5:19 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. James 4:7

Jesus further warns about some common behaviors  in the society about us. He names some of them: “dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.”  These demonstrate that moral transgressions as well as daily cares can slowly encroach into our Christian beliefs and undermine our purity. Alcohol, drugs, fornication, can get a grip on us before we any recognition of their intrusion. Money troubles, employment burdens, and social pressures can erode us from within.  We must constantly keep our beliefs and ideals at a high level, ever aware of insidious little concessions that we might make to worldly temptations. Don’t take any side roads into sin. These little surrenders can take us on a downhill skid into Hell.

  • Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.
    – Horace Mann

Jesus encourages us to be alert and pray. The phrase “stay awake” (ESV) pairs itself with “be on watch” at the very first of our text. To these Jesus adds for us to pray for strength to escape the danger. Actually, it sounds as if he conceives the picture of a completed capture with the Christian already in fetters, the ties of which can only get stronger. Prayer is a great prescription for temptation. Use it abundantly and endlessly. “Pray without ceasing”. I Thessalonians 5:17

Keep your ideals high and your behavior spotless. Be neither blindsided nor crept up on. Avoid being captured unawares.

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