Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!Matthew 26:41 (NLT)
A couple of years ago, my daughter broke her arm at school. When I got the call at work, the teacher explained that she fell off a piece of playground equipment. I was skeptical how bad it could be. Maybe Megan just sprained something. So, I questioned whether or not I needed to come pick her up right away, or if I could wait until school was out. (I know, not my finest hour as a dad.) The teacher said it needed immediate care and that my wife was already on her way, so this was more of a heads up. I texted my wife, who then sent me back a picture of Megan’s arm. Let’s just say that bones are not supposed to bend that way – yes, I wrote bones. She broke both bones in her lower arm. It took an orthopedic doctor to reset everything, get it casted, and several follow-up visits before her arm was made whole again.
Sometimes in our lives, maybe most of the time, we don’t recognize the severity of the wounds that Satan is inflicting upon us. As waves of temptation crash down upon us, we may notice that we’re getting hit, but we don’t notice that the waves are also sucking us further away from shore – away from the safety of our Savior. We downplay the sinful effect on our life, and just try to power through the temptation. But, will-power doesn’t work against an enemy that is far more powerful, intelligent, and strategic than we are. We can’t defeat the devil (no matter what memes that float around social media may say).
So, how do we fight the strategies of Satan? Bring in someone who knows Him and has already defeated him – Jesus. Jesus said it plainly in our verse today, “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” Notice that the key isn’t just to power through. It’s not to try harder. It’s not to be extra stubborn. It’s to admit defeat and call upon the One that cannot be defeated. “Keep watch,” be observant of the schemes of Satan. Look for his traps. When you find one, call upon the name of Jesus to show you a way out of temptation. He is always faithful to do so – though we don’t always like the pathway out.
Every day, pray that God will reveal Satan’s traps. Pray Jesus will show you how to avoid them. Pray that Jesus will reveal a way out when there seems to be none.