I have been on a diet recently and have lost 17 pounds. It seems that when you go on a diet, suddenly everyone tempts you the sweetest calorie infused treats. What’s up with that?
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. (“Apple Fritters, I hate you.”) Actually they go beyond that. Temptations are after our integrity, moral standards, honesty, and every part of our life. Peter found that out at the time of Jesus greatest persecution.
When Jesus warned Peter about a temptation that was soon to come. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) The temptation Peter crashed and failed was to NOT admit he knew and followed Jesus when asked by those that hated Jesus. When Jesus warned Peter of this temptation to come, Peter had the opportunity to respond in two ways: He could reverentially listen to Jesus and respond affirmatively and then pray (which Jesus advised,) 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! Taking the Lord at His Word 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 grace of God. As I’ve said many times before, grace is God’s supernatural help and strength to resist temptation and to help you do anything He’s asked you to do. His empowering grace is the source of strength to obey God. Once you fully comprehend that your spirit is willing but your flesh or own willpower is weak and flawed, then you begin to lean on the Lord’s grace and prayer.
Most temptations in life are not those huge lurking obvious ones that first come to mind. Most of those we face are tiny and easy to pass over and fall prey to. God may be dealing with you in a number of areas of your life. The devil may be tempting you in those same areas to keep you from obedience to God and to keep God’s blessings from you.
The Holy Spirit tries to help us in these areas but too often we just blow by them. We do because we are not praying and therefore, not sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s alerting and trying to help us. We get cold to His voice and leading. We then easily yield to those simple temptations while making jokes and excuses about them to help us feel better in the moment. Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is where it begins and prayer will get us there. That’s what Jesus wanted Peter to know. Its there we’ll begin to find the strength to say yes to what we should and no to what we shouldn’t.
I had come to a place a couple of months ago where I was not comfortable with my weight. I knew the Lord was speaking to me about it. I made the decision to lose 20 pounds and found a group of guys that wanted to join me in the challenge. We talk about it, encourage each other, and draw strength from the accountability. These are all tools of the grace of God. In those times where I am alone and temptation comes, I just pause, let the Lord remind me I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and then draw on His grace and resist what I should.
I’ve lost 17 pounds so far and have decided to increase my goal from losing 20 pounds to 30 pounds. You gain strength and momentum when you learn how to consistently resist the devil and temptation and do things God’s way. And you feel so much better about yourself!
The grace of God, not my own willpower is the only place that I have strong confidence – confidence in His ability and strength working in me through prayer!
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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