Did you know that an ostrich's eye is larger than its brain?
Did you know that a cow has two stomachs?
Did you know that a bird's bones are hollow?
Did you know that a bee can't hear itself buzz? (It has no ears.)
Some animals can be pretty interesting, can't they? Here's another interesting fact: Did you know that a cat's whiskers are exactly as wide as the widest part of its body? That way, a cat can know if it's trying to squeeze its head through the open end of a pipe or the slats of a fence, whether the rest of its body will fit. If its whiskers brush the pipe or the fence, the cat knows not to try to go through.
Wouldn't it be nice if you and I could know before doing a certain thing whether we're going to get into trouble? Wouldn't it be cool to know, before we even go a certain way, if we're going to be tempted to make a wrong choice?
Well, we may not be equipped with whiskers (though some of us do have a little bit of peach fuzz on our face, don't we?), but that doesn't mean we're helpless. In fact, we have something much better than cat whiskers. It's called prayer.
You see, before Jesus faced his trial and crucifixion, he took some of his disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with him. He knew what was about to happen, but they apparently didn't have a clue. So he tried to warn them. He said, "Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you" (Mark 14:38). Unfortunately, they didn't listen. They relaxed instead of staying alert and slept instead of praying. If they had prayed, though, they would have been a lot better prepared for the temptations they faced over the next few days. Who knows? Maybe James wouldn't have run away. Maybe Peter wouldn't have denied Jesus. But we'll never know, of course, because they failed to pray and so were overpowered by temptation.
It doesn't matter that we don't have whiskers, but it does matter whether or not we pray. If we pray, "Lead us not into temptation" (Luke 11:4, NIV), the Lord will warn us away from some situations in which we might be tempted to do wrong and bring us through other temptations he knows we're strong enough to face. But we must remember to "keep alert and pray," as Jesus said. Otherwise temptation will overpower us.
REFLECT: Do you think things might have happened differently if Jesus' disciples had stayed alert and prayed in the garden instead of falling asleep? If not, why not? If so, how? Do you pray every day and ask God to help you resist temptation? When do you think is the best time for you to ask God to deliver you from temptation: during the temptation, after the temptation, or before temptation even strikes?
PRAY: "Lord, help me to pray every day for strength against temptations to make wrong choices so that I won't be surprised or overpowered when temptation comes."