“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Mt 26:41 NKJV
Why did Jesus tell His disciples, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”? Because He knows that without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we’re not equal to the temptations that come our way. Jesus didn’t doubt the disciples’ love for Him or their willingness to serve Him, but He knew they couldn’t do it in their own strength. And you can’t either. When you fight the flesh in the power of the flesh, you end up fighting yourself—and you lose every time. Note the words “lest you enter into temptation.” You’ll never be exempt from temptation, but you don’t have to “enter into” it. Indeed, your regenerated spirit can’t “enter into” it because sin has no appeal to it. But your unregenerated “flesh” will always be attracted to sin. And becoming a Christian increases the frequency, variety, and intensity of the temptations you face. Why? Because Satan, “the tempter,” doesn’t give up control easily. He will fight you constantly, and on different fronts. The Bible speaks of “manifold temptations” (1Pe 1:6). The word “manifold” means there are “many kinds” of temptation. What’s the answer? “Manifold grace!” (1Pe 4:10). The moment temptation rears its head, and before you have time to “enter into” it, draw on God’s grace. How do you do that? Jesus said, “Watch and pray.” The New Living Bible says, “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you.” Sheep don’t have the strength or skill to overcome the wolf. But they have the strategy! They just draw close to the Shepherd and He deals with the wolf.