The  Power  to  Overcome Temptation 

Matthew 26:41  NKJV 

Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak

The  Greek  root word  for  "watch"  means  to  be  in control  of  one's  faculties.  Peter defined it as to be  sober  and  diligent  for  the  enemy  stalks  about  as  a roaring  lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5 :8) In Romans 6 Paul tells  us that we are to  literally yield our mind and our bodies to the power  of the  Holy Spirit  like a dead  man  who  no longer  has any  power  over  his own  person. This  does  not mean we  are to become passive or automatons, but we are to give the right away of our persons to the control and power of the  Holy Spirit. This is the same as being filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Notice in Matthew 26: 41 the "spirit" is in lower caps, meaning the reference is to our own spirit for that is the area of our being where the Holy Spirit resides. It is from our reborn spirits that God guides and directs our lives. It is also the area where He deposits His Word in us. Therefore, we need to be mighty in spirit in order to overcome temptation. When we are tempted it is always in our flesh - our minds and our bodes. Actually  all temptation  begins in the mind, then moves to include the body in its action. That is what James defines as lust - a man or woman is tempted to lust; then when  lust is conceived,  it results in sin. Lust is not limited to sexual temptation, but anything that entices us to sin is  lust. 

To be mighty in spirit means we also have a vital prayer life because we know our own weaknesses and trust not our own  selves  to  enter  into spiritual  combat.  Part of the spiritual armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 is prayer. We are to  pray always  for praying builds a strong spirit.  Praying is talking  to  God.  How can we  expect to have strong spirits and overcome  temptation if we seldom talk to God. Jesus, the Son of God, prayed often and for long periods;  how much more do we need  to pray. The length of our prayer is not where the power lies, but in the quality.  Elijah prayed a very short prayer and fire fell  from heaven and consumed the altar. Those who learn the art of praying learn to choose their words wisely. This is one  problem area that needs to be addressed - the saints think they can come to God and say anything and somehow God is to be impressed. While many prayers are uttered, there is little prayer for the praying is not in line with  the Word  of God. 

Every minister who loves his people needs to teach them how to pray (might want to start with  himself first) and one of the best places to begin is the book of Psalms for it is replete with the prayers of the Psalmists. Pray the Psalms to God and insert your own words and petitions and I promise you it will  not take  long for the Spirit to teach you  how to pray.  When we are tempted, that is a call to immediate prayer. If we would learn to pray when  temptation  comes, we would  not fall victim  to temptation.  In addition,  speak the Word of God out loud to the temptation and watch the tempter leave. When the devil tempted Jesus, He quoted the Word to him and the devil left in defeat, that is, Satan left because he found no weakness in Jesus. Now with us we have many weaknesses and Satan and his demonic network know precisely what they are. Their temptation always confronts our weakest areas. That is why we must saturate our lives with the Word of God and  prayer.  The strength of our spirits is where the power resides to overcome the tempter. If you spirit is weak, you will not be able to resist temptation. 

Ephesians 6:10 says, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, which is the Holy Spirit." 

The power to overcome temptation is having a strong spirit. The Lord bless you.

BWV Comment

I wrote this article a few years ago and as I was cleaning out one of my old computer folders, this article popped out at me.  As I read it, I was convicted again of my own praylessness with its accompanying weak spiritual power.  I know a man who is mighty in spirit because he is mighty in prayer.  When he prays demons shake and flee. People have been saved listening to him pray. 

I was told he was once asked to come to the hospital to pray with the family of a relative who was dying. Several nurses were in the room as the sick man was in ICU. As the brother (long-time friend) began to pray, all in the room knew a man of God was present. By the time he finished praying people were weeping including the nurses not because they were sad their relative was near death, but convicted of their sin. As a result some were even saved.  

I have prayed with him on several occasions, but I have to tell you each time I do I always feel like the donkey in the Kentucky Derby.