“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV)
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Anticipating that temptations would come, Jesus prepares us so we may overcome them – and not be overcome by them. Watch – keep a vigilant guard, stay alert to your surroundings. The normal state of affairs for the Christ follower is spiritual warfare, and Satan uses temptations as part of his arsenal of weapons against believers. He appeals to our selfish appetites and desires. The body wants what the body wants – and is often in conflict with the desires of the spirit. “The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Watch where you’re going. Watch what you’re doing. Watch what you’re thinking so that you will not fall into temptation. Watching is the defensive position. There’s an offensive position that we’ve been given as well – the power of prayer. Prayer gives us full access to the throne of grace where we obtain mercy and find help in time of need! Here’s a great promise to claim in prayer when you see temptation coming at you.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
Wow! We’ve been given direct access to the very throne of God through our High Priest, Jesus Christ, who understands exactly what we’re going through and is standing ready to help us when we call! In fact, your prayer is like a 911 call to heaven when you face temptation. I like the way the Amplified Bible describes the response time that Jesus promises in Hebrews 2:18,“For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].”