‘“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’” –Matthew 26:41 (NIV)
Life as a student comes with its joys as well as its challenges. Perhaps one challenge which seems to be universal for students everywhere is working on essays and assignments late into the night. I remember times when I had to stay up all night in order to finish a paper due that morning. There were moments where I would wish that I could go to sleep, or at least shut my eyes. However, I knew that the moment I rested my head, I would fall deep into slumber and would not be able to finish my work. I had to pray to God for strength during those times. I knew that if I relied on my own willpower I would easily succumb to the temptation to fall asleep. But once I prayed to God to give me strength knowing that I could not carry on my own, He would always sharpen my mind and senses; giving me energy to finish my work in time and succeed by His grace.
In the same manner, how often have we wanted to let our guard down and allow temptation to lead us astray? Often times the allure of temptation is great and though we want to resist, part of us wants to indulge in sinful behaviour. Paul himself admits this struggle in Romans 7:15 when he writes that, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” We compromise with ourselves saying that a one-time tryst with sin will not harm us and that we can pull ourselves out whenever we choose to. But the reality is that once we give even the slightest allowance to sin in our lives, we have already gone too far. Sin has that nasty effect of sucking us into a downward spiral and taking us further down the path than we would be willing to go.
But where can we get the strength to fight against temptation? No matter how hard we try out of our own efforts, we always end up doing things that we do not want to do. The problem lies in the fact that we are inherently sinful and thus it is no wonder we are so vulnerable to sin because it is embedded in our nature. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts that His blood cleanses us of our sin and we become clothed with His righteousness. Abiding in Him and keeping in step with His Spirit, He will give us the strength to walk the other way when temptation strikes and according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, “…He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” God will keep us vigilant and alert so that He may fulfil His perfect will for our lives and that we may dwell in the freedom which comes from knowing Him.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.