"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Soul Food : Watch & Pray!

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"

-- Mark 14 : 38


This is our verse for this week. The message is quite clear yet, so significant for our spiritual survival. The verse clearly says, "watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation". It means what it says. We are to watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation. I believe we've all - or most of us - read this verse and more than once too I'm sure. However, do we really understand it's implication to our Spiritual life? Does it really sink in?

The fist question we need to ask ourselves is, what does falling into temptation mean? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines temptation as a desire to do something, esp. something wrong or unwisea thing or course of action that attracts or tempts someone. In our Spiritual walk, that would be doing anything but God's will, that is, giving into sin which can eventually lead to backsliding and loosing our relationship with God. Temptation can come in all forms, different sources and at any time. The truth of the matter is, there will always be temptation even Christ our ultimate example was tempted for forty days in the wilderness by the devil [Luke 4 : 2] so if Jesus can be tempted, how much more us? It not for us to hope there will not be temptation but for us to be ready for when temptations come & resist. 

The second question to ask is, how can we fall into temptation? Some may say, isn't grace enough? Can't we just jump over the temptations? We all not the answer to the latter question is, no. The part of us that falls into temptation is the flesh, not the Spirit. When we give the flesh ground in our lives, no matter how small, the consequences can be drastic. When the flesh is in control, sin will definitely come because it is weak. It is only by the Spirit that we can have a relationship with God & the Word of God is Spirit [John 6 : 63] and can only feed our Spirit not the flesh. When we strengthen our relationship with God & let the Spirit take over us, the flesh will have no ground to manifest. However, this Spiritual journey is an every day battle because the flesh could start manifesting at anytime if we start relenting in out prayer life. This is why pray & the study of the Word is key. These two fortify us daily & prepare us against the Spiritual attacks of the devil. Imagine it like this : everyday is a battle & everyday there are attacks. Sometimes a part of our armor [Ephesians 6 : 10 -17] can be hit & we will need to be refortified. This refortification is the reading of the Word & prayers. We are strengthening & re-strenthening ourselves through them to be more like Christ & totally dead to the flesh.

The third questions is as follows, how do we fight temptation? As I stated above, prayer & the daily digestion & constant ruminating in the Word are key for any Christian to overcome temptation. To say no to the flesh and the old ways, we need the Spirit. We cannot do this of the flesh. And to strengthen our Spirit means the studying of the Word & a very active prayer life. This is a constant battle. The devil can hit you today but it does not mean he will rest tomorrow. So why should you? What if the devil comes back with an heavier attack. If your Spiritual level has not increased since the last time, wouldn't he be able to take you? I pray this is not our portion in Jesus' name. But this verse, as I said before, is substantial to our Spiritual survival & thus, salvation. Again, temptations come in many forms, in different way & at any time. Most of the time, they will not be new to you but old habits being used to tempt you. Why this is trust is because, the devil never has any new tricks and he knows the fastest way to bring anyone down is to use the same things that was their weakness in the past.

Finally, you might be saying, I feel weak and do not know how to overcome the different temptations.
Go to Christ. Read His word. As I have been saying in many posts, we are in a Spiritual war. Everyday is a battle. So how can we as soldiers fight without an armor? That is suicide. Immediately we gave our lives to Christ, we enlisted in His army and the devil has been forever at war with us, seeking whom he may take down with him. Ephesians 6 : 10 : 17 speaks all about the armor we need to fight this war, to keep on standing on the battle ground. Check out this post for more on the whole armor of God. If you are feeling weak and overwhelmed by temptations, ask God to strengthen you. Begin to use His Word as a weapon, as instructed in Ephesians 6:17. And do not forget to flee!! Flee temptation! If you know something is a cause of temptation to you, do all you can to get away from it! It's not time to start quoting Bible verses, when you see temptation, flee! Apply Joseph's wisdom and flee like he did before Potiphar's wife. 
But, remember that with every temptation, God has provided a way out : "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" 1 Corinthians 10 : 13

May God help us watch & pray! And may we not fall into temptation in Jesus' name!
Amen!!

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