“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)
Today let’s cover two weapons available to us for overcoming temptation: prayer and the church. There is the story of what I put in my prayer notebook “T & T.” Every day I pinpointed the enemies of a renegade tongue and an explosive temper. I didn’t wait until the enemy loomed on the horizon and started his barrage of temptations. I started every day with a plea for the Holy Spirit to send in His troops and knock out the enemy in my life. The Spirit knew in advance what I’d face that day. I asked Him to prepare me, to give me strength to win, to alert me to ambushes I wouldn’t even see. I didn’t pray: “Lord, help me be good today” or, “Lord, make me victorious today.” I prayed about the specific sins that were winning in my life. I targeted my big enemies, and I prayed daily for victory over them. From your own list of personal temptations choose the one that brings you down most and write a model prayer you might use on a daily basis until God gives consistent victory.
The defensive use of the local congregation is primarily to build a support network of people who grow strong together in studying the Word, uniting in prayer, exhorting one another, and setting the example for one another. Together we build spiritual muscle in preparation for our battle over temptation in a way we never could on our own.
In spiritual warfare-you need a faithful partner to watch out for you! An accountability partner is someone you can share with openly about your temptations, your victories, and your defeats. A word of caution: to share with a partner who is vulnerable to the same temptation you are fighting is usually unwise. A drowning man doesn’t need another drowning man to come to the rescue! But one of the greatest defences against temptation is a buddy in the battle, an accountability partner to pray with you about your besetting temptation. If you have a prayer buddy or accountability partner and haven’t shared your struggle with temptation, why not do it this week? Consider why you haven’t shared your struggle with your prayer buddy. Perhaps you are not serious about overcoming temptation and you want to continue in defeat.
If you don’t have an accountability partner, have you prayed about who to enlist? Take time to pray now. Ask God to show you who you can join forces with to help each other overcome temptation. As you go about your activities this week, keep asking God for the person and the courage to enlist such an accountability partner.
We’ve considered a defensive strategy that uses the weapons of the Spirit to prepare for battle. Only this way can we build a defensive wall around our minds to block out the ideas of the world and counter the onslaughts of the enemy. “Reject and keep on resisting the conforming influences of your environment,” says Paul. This we will do with God’s Word, with prayer, and with our fellow soldiers.