MATTHEW 26:40, 41 – And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
THEME OF THE DAY. NEVER A MOMENT. Let’s sit back and ponder something very real and personal for all of us. It is something we each know by painful experience. It grieves us when it happens. I am referring to those times we fall flat on our spiritual faces by giving into temptation, leading us to God-displeasing and soul-paining sin. I think if we pull the layers back on the answer to this question, it boils down to simply two things.
First, we fall into sin when we fail to really spend time with the Lord and know ourselves, particularly, knowing our areas of weakness. It happened to Peter. He didn’t know the depths of his sinful impulsiveness and pride. These both worked in him and led to his serious sin of denying the Lord. If you and I don’t know our weak spots, the devil, world, and our flesh will seize upon them hard and fast. We must know ourselves. When God shows us those spots in our lives we may easily fall prey to when temptation comes, it becomes our daily responsibility to avoid them with great effort. Whatever it might be, we simply cannot allow one “crack in the door” of this weakness or sin will occur, not might, but will. And remember, there is never a moment in this life we can trust ourselves, lean upon our own strength to fight temptation and sin. Never a moment.
Another reason we fall into sin is what we might call “spiritual neglect” or even a more accurate, but harsher term, “spiritual laziness.” And this in the two primary weapons against temptation – a spiritual watchfulness for temptation and spiritual praying against temptation. This is illustrated by our Lord in today’s scripture. Jesus said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Peter failed during a time of trial, even in the very midst of Jesus’ presence, due to a lack of spiritual watchfulness and a lack of watchful praying. Christian, we cannot allow one day, one moment go by, without an eye on the evil around us and in us. We also cannot live a single day without communion with God in prayer and living a life of communion with Him in prayer. Prayer is the watch guard of the Christian life. Prayer is the most important thing in the Christian life. Prayer is what determines the quality of our Christian life. Prayer will either protect us or lack of prayer will open us up to sure spiritual defeat. It is a bold statement, but I believe true; the number one cause of defeat and ineffectiveness in the Christian life is prayerlessness. It is also the number reason for lack of joy, living with eternal purpose, and having a deepening love affair with the Lord Jesus. And it applies to churches as well – a prayerless church is a dead church. Oh, it may be “alive” with activity and social events, but it will be dead spiritually
Friends, in this life we are never free from the temptations of Satan and self. We never get to take a ‘spiritual vacation’ or have a “time out” period of being outside the reach of temptation. Every day is a battle day. Every moment is a conflict moment either against our fleshly lusts, worldliness, or sinful thoughts. The wise Christian lives knowing this world is not a playground of ease and pleasure but a battleground of constant conflict and temptation. And to win the conflicts, defeat temptation, and prosper in the Lord, we must know ourselves, commit to watching for all the subtle workings of temptations, and give ourselves to a life living in the practice and attitude of prayer.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see there is not a moment of ‘spiritual vacation’ this side of heaven.”
QUOTE: “Fail to watch and pray against temptation and we will fail in temptation”