LifeLink Devotions (Click here for Audio Blog)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

I love parties. This weekend I will be attending a party to celebrate several birthdays and accomplishments in our family. Of course, parties require food. Not just any food, but succulent and sweet temptations like cake and ice cream.  Everyone will be energized by the surge of sugar – everyone, that is, except me (and my wife). Don’t get me wrong, I love cake and ice cream, but my body hates sugar. I can’t have much if any of it anymore. Parties are hard because I’m constantly trying to justify having some because I want to gratify my personal desires without considering the big picture.

When Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray prior to His arrest and crucifixion, He took His disciples with Him. He specifically asked three of them to accompany Him deeper into the garden to support Him while He wrestled with the will of God.  He asked them to pray for Him while He took His burden to His heavenly Father. When He returned from praying, the disciples were asleep. What Jesus says to them is very important for us to hear. 

Matthew 26:41  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Every day we are bombarded with temptations to satisfy the desires of the flesh. Jesus gives us three things with which we can fight off each of those attacks of the Enemy.

The first is the ability to discern the difference between right and wrong. Jesus tells His disciples to watch, which implies an ability to see. Jesus has given us the capacity to recognize temptation and to see its end result in our lives. We must walk each step of each day with our eyes wide open to what is going on around us. Satan is attempting to lure us into the lie that the world can satisfy our deepest desires. Watch for it – you will see it.

The second thing Jesus gives us to overcome temptation is prayer. Unfortunately for many of us, prayer is our escape mechanism and not our defense system. Corrie Ten Boom said it this way, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” We need to pray prior to being tempted, as Jesus taught us when He said, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We would avoid a lot of anguish over decisions and a lot of regret over actions if we would pray in advance and be prepared to always choose God’s will in every instance.

Cathy Fussell wrote an article about defensive prayer in the publication entitled Today’s Christian Woman. “Recently, my son, Andrew, reminded me of the need for daily prayer. He had accidentally spilled his drink and I went into a tirade. Andrew ended my harsh words when he quietly asked, ‘Mom, did you forget to ask Jesus to help you be nice today?’” 

The third thing Jesus gives us to withstand temptation is His Spirit. What an incredible promise – the spirit is willing. Most of us, however, tend to focus on the weak flesh portion of our existence. We’ve resigned ourselves to the lie that we just can’t help ourselves – it’s who I am and I can’t change it. Jesus says otherwise, and we need to listen to the voice of truth. His Holy Spirit in us is greater than the Enemy who is tempting us. What it really boils down to is what we really want. Sin is a choice. It is not an accident. It is not a psychological dysfunction. It is a choice. It is what we wanted at the time. It is the result of putting our own desires ahead of God’s will. It is the result of not praying and surrendering to the power of the risen Christ who lives in us.

So open your eyes and become sensitive to the subtle ways Satan tempts you every day. Pray that you will submit to the will of God in all things. And trust the Holy Spirit to provide you with the power to resist every sin. Today you can begin to walk in victory.

Pastor John

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