Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. (Matt. 26:41)

CIVIL WAR SOLDIER PRIVATE WILLIAM SCOTT of Company K, 3rd Vermont Infantry, was dubbed the “Sleeping Sentinel” because he fell asleep during picket duty in Virginia, September 3, 1861. However, he soon learned the hard way that it doesn’t pay to sleep on guard duty.

Because twenty-two-year-old Scott fell asleep when he should have been alert, the Union Army court-martialed him and sentenced him to death. However, public sentiment sided with Scott because he had voluntarily assumed guard duty in place of a sick soldier and had been at his post two successive nights when sleep overcame him. When word of the pending execution reached President Lincoln, he signed a stay of execution in the nick of time. A firing squad had marched the pale, shuddering soldier to the execution site, when an officer read the president’s decree.

Allowed to rejoin his company, Scott performed good service and six months later gave his life at Lee’s Mill, Virginia, by rushing rebel rifle pits.

As soldiers of the cross, we have received a command from Jesus, our Commander-in-Chief, to stay alert and to pray. The Enemy wages relentless warfare against us, but victory is certain if we watch for temptations and pray for strength and supplies in the thick of battle.

Be on the lookout for temptations. Resist them in the power of the Holy Spirit, and pray for opportunities to advance the Lord’s work.

Jim Dyet was born in Scotland and grew up in Canada. Married fifty-six years, he and Gloria live in Colorado Springs, where Jim enjoys golf and daily walks with their dogs.