“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
When you saw the title of this post, chances are that you got nervous. I sure did when I felt like I should write a post about temptation. I have to tell you, I’m not the best person to be writing this post as I struggle with temptation just as much as the next guy. God is definitely helping me with it, however, and I thought that it would be best if I just shared what He has recently shown me about this topic.
You have probably heard Matthew 26:41 before, but it is one of those verses that is worth repeating (like John 3:16, Romans 1:16, etc). The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Around this time every year, most people will attempt to make a New Year’s Resolution. This resolution is created to help them become better in an area that they struggle with (like weight, laziness, etc). Let’s say that a certain individual, named Albert, made a resolution to go to the gym every day. On January 1st, the spirit is definitely willing! He’s ready, he’s doing jumping jacks, push-ups, whatever he can do to get going. January 2nd rolls around and the clock reads 11:20. “Hmmm,” he thinks to himself, “I sure did work out a lot yesterday, maybe I’ll take a break.” January 3rd comes and goes and he has only gone to the gym one day this whole time.
What happened to Albert? His spirit and mind definitely wanted to go to the gym his flesh, however, was weak and failed him. What sank in was temptation. Now please understand that temptation comes in many shapes and sizes, and this is not a very serious one.
Each of us struggle with different kinds of temptations and your most serious ones probably aren’t that great to others. But what can you do to avoid temptation? Take a look at James 4:7:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
That verse is so short, yet has such a great message. All you have to do is resist the devil! Ha! Easy, right? Wrong. When temptation comes knocking, it is strong and powerful. You’ll start to notice your mind talking you into participating in something that you know you shouldn’t be doing. What I’m going to tell you next might sound weird, but I encourage you to try it! Every morning after you wake up and after your personal time with God, put on the armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-18:
“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
I have found that this definitely helps. It guards you from the devil’s fiery arrows of temptation and keeps you focused on God. Try it sometime!
Before I end this post, I thought I should post a few more verses about temptation. Try to really read and apply them!
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4
“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Hebrews 2:18