“Defeating Temptation”

Fresh Manna 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt

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

When you think of the word temptation, what are the first temptations that come to your mind? I may be wrong but I think for most people, they are temptations regarding things they crave or lust after. When Jesus was speaking the words of today’s Fresh Manna to His disciple Peter, He was warning him of a temptation that was soon to come. The temptation was to NOT admit he knew and followed Jesus when asked by those that hated Jesus. When Jesus warned Peter of this temptation, He had the opportunity to respond in two ways. He could reverentially listen to Jesus and respond affirmatively and then pray, or he could respond the way he did. Peter responded “Lord, even if everyone else betrays you, I never will.” Peter was confident in his own willpower and love for the Lord. That is the mistake every Christian learns the hard way. As passionate as we may seem in the moment, the strength of our own willpower will often fail us.

Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the reverential fear of the Lord there is strong confidence…” Strong confidence in our own willpower is nothing but pride! The reverential fear of the Lord is where strong confidence grows as personal strength. Taking the Lord at His Word because He is God and putting faith in His directives more than confidence in your own willpower or ability is the birthplace of real confidence. Therefore, when the Lord says to watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation, He is saying that prayer is what will help us be spiritually sensitive enough to catch moments of temptation and pause to lean on the Lord and receive his strength to avoid them. When you fully comprehend that your spirit is willing but the reality is – your flesh or willpower is weak, then you begin to lean on the Lord’s Word and prayer.

Most temptations in life are not those huge lurking obvious ones that first come to mind when we think of the word temptation. Most of those we face are tiny and easy to pass over and fall prey to. God may have been dealing with you in some way or another about a myriad of things – flossing your teeth regularly, cleaning that closet or garage, to quit procrastinating, to quit yelling, to stop gossiping, to buy less sweets and more vegetables and fruits, to carry that pocket bible and mini-book about God’s love in your purse or briefcase to give to your co-worker, and on and on.

The Holy Spirit can be seriously trying to help us in these areas and we just blow by them because we are not praying and therefore, not sensitive to the Holy Spirit alerting and trying to help us. We get cold to His voice and leading. Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is where it begins and prayer will get us there. It’s there we’ll begin to find the strength to say yes to what we should and no to what we shouldn’t.

When I had gotten sick two weeks ago, I had fallen out of my exercise routine. I fell out of just about every discipline during that time. Getting back to each of them has been about getting back on track. I have prayed for the Lord to help me in each area and more. The Lord has given me strength to get back on track and it feels so good. Beyond that, I want to be sensitive to those daily temptations – maybe not to react to a situation or say something I shouldn’t – or to share God’s love with someone I should. The spirit is always willing and agreeable to help me but the flesh is just stinking lazy. But, prayer – drawing on the Lords strength and hearing His voice direct and encourage me, is what keeps me in that blessed place with Him. It’s the only place that I have strong confidence – in His ability and strength working in me through prayer!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.