Jesus told His disciples, ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Jesus didn’t doubt the disciples’ love for Him or their willingness to serve Him, but He knew they couldn’t do it in their own strength. Without the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we’re not able to overcome the temptations that come our way. We’ll never be exempt from temptation. In fact, becoming a Christian increases the frequency, variety, and intensity of the temptations we face, because the enemy doesn’t give up easily. But we don’t have to ‘fall into’ temptation. The moment it comes along, and before we have time to give in to it, we need to turn to God’s grace. Jesus said, ‘Watch and pray.’ And that’s exactly what we need to do too. We need to be alert so that we’re aware of the areas of our lives where we’re likely to be tempted, and we need to pray for the strength to overcome any temptation we’re facing. If we’ve given in to temptation before, we don’t need to let shame overtake our lives. We can confess it to God, ask for His forgiveness, and then strengthen ourselves so that we avoid giving in to temptation again. When Jesus said these words to the disciples, they had repeatedly given in to the temptation to sleep when Jesus needed them to stay awake and keep watch. Jesus didn’t disown or condemn the disciples, instead He encouraged them and gave them advice. Let’s not write ourselves off just because we’ve given in to temptation before. Let’s allow God to remove our shame and strengthen us ready to face future temptations.
Write down anything you feel tempted by. Spend some time talking to God about each area, and pray for the strength to resist temptation.
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