Times of Temptation
When is the Christian most liable to sleep? Is it not when his temporal circumstances are prosperous? Have you not found it so? When you had daily troubles to take to the throne of grace, were you not more awake than you are now? Easy roads make sleepy travelers. Another dangerous time is when all goes pleasantly in spiritual matters. A Christian did not fall asleep when lions were in the way or when he was wading through the river or when fighting with Apollyon. But when he had climbed halfway up the Hill Difficulty and came to a delightful spot, he sat down and promptly fell asleep, to his great sorrow and loss.
The enchanted ground is a place of balmy breezes, filled with fragrant odors and soft influences, all of which tend to lull pilgrims to sleep. Remember Bunyan's description: "Then they came to an arbor, warm, and promising much refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above head, beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settees. It also had in it a soft couch, where the weary might lean." "The arbor was called the Slothful's Friend, and was made on purpose to attract, if it might, some of the pilgrims to take their rest there when weary."
Depend upon it—it is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land of forgetfulness. Old Erskine wisely remarked, "I like a roaring devil better than a sleeping devil." There is no temptation half so dangerous as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we enter into peaceful confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering. The disciples fell asleep after they had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountaintop. Take heed, joyful Christian, easy days are close neighbors to temptations: Be as happy as you will—only be watchful!
verse 1 Daniel 8
verse 2 Psalms 116
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.