The Day of the Lord
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What Does It Mean To Be Saved

The Power To Overcome Temptation

Matthew 26:41 NKJV

41 Watch and pray lest your 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 of way 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 the passage above the word spirit is in the lower case, 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 mind and our bodies. Actually all temptation begins in the mind then moves to include the body in its action. That is why Jesus said if a man looks upon a women and lust for her sexually, he has committed adultery in his thoughts and carries the same penalty as physical adultery.  That teaching was hard for the disciples to accept for what man is there who has never had a lustful thought about a woman - only a dead man.  The Book of James defines lust as when a man or a woman is tempted with lust, then when lust is conceived it results in sin (James 1:14-16). 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 a strong spirit 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. He prayed again briefly and a cloud appeared bringing an abundance of rain that broke a 3 1/2 year drought.  Those who learn the art of praying choose their words wisely. 

This is one problem area that needs addressed in the Church. Some think they can come to God and say anything as well as address Him as "God" rather than "our Father" as Jesus instructed us to do (Matthew 6:9). Young people are especially bad about this.  "God" is a general term that today that can mean a false deity.  You don't hear Muslims addressing their god as "God", no, they address him as Allah for that is his name, even though a false god.  All Christian prayers are to be prayed to our heavenly Father in Jesus' name.  (John 14:13). While many prayers may be uttered, there is little effective prayer for the praying does not lineup 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 learn to pray 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 Holy Spirit to teach you how to pray.  Now this does not mean we should only and always pray the Psalms. No, there are many kinds of prayer for different situations and we must learn how to pray in them all. However, the key again is having a strong spirit built up by an active prayer life.

When we are tempted that is a call to prayer. If we would learn to pray when temptation comes, we would not fall victim to it. In addition, when you pray, speak the Word of God out loud to the temptation and watch the tempter leave. When the devil tempted Jesus, the Lord quoted the Word to him and he left in defeat, that is, Satan found no weakness in Jesus.  Now with us we have many weaknesses and Satan and his demonic networks 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 your spirit is weak, you will not be able to resist the 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.