Image by loswl via Flickr
Matt. 26:41 2 Cor.2:11
'A soldier who knows his enemy and himself will win a thousand battles'. I heard this quote the other day and have tried to remember it. (If anyone knows where it comes from, please do let me know). It made me stop and think about the nature of sin and temptation, and how we fall into the same traps our enemy the devil sets for us, over and over again. (Or am I the only one?).
I recently experienced this when I could see a situation looming where I knew I was going to be tempted. I was feeling spiritually strong at the time and just knew that I wouldn't fall. But, lo and behold, before long I felt myself being dragged along to that place I did and didn't want to go to. What happened?
Firstly, I think that when we are tempted, we switch our brains off! We are called to watch and be aware. This means using our minds and thinking clearly. However, often our sinful nature takes over and the devil convinces us that this is all perfectly natural and actually nothing to do with him. We need to stop and think, 'OK, I've been here before and it's not a good place. I'm in a battle and I've been dragged here again. I do not have to stay.' We need to repent quickly and turn around.
Secondly, we gain strength to face temptation in that place of prayer. Jesus knew this. He was only able to face those immense temptations because of the time He spent communing with the Father. And if we feel that isn't working for us, then maybe we need to stay there a little while longer. Rushed prayer seldom produces the peace and power that we need to face the world. Of course, there is a sense in which all life is prayer and worship, but we also need to go to our room, shut the door and wait on God until that strength comes. That is the place where we cultivate an open channel where God is able to pour all His light and power in.