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The Key to Fighting Temptation (Luke 22:40) - Your Daily Bible Verse - August 23

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The Key to Fighting Temptation
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” - Luke 22:40 (ESV)

No Christian is free from temptation. Remember, temptation itself isn’t a sin, as Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4). Rather, the sin lies in whether we give in to temptation. Do you avert your eyes when tempted with the opportunity to indulge in lust? Do you attempt to take a deep breath and curb your rising anger instead of lashing out? Do you make the right decision when presented with the chance to lie, cheat, or steal and get away with it?

Jesus clearly tells us how to fight temptation.

The night that Christ was arrested, he first went to the Mount of Olives to pray. Luke 22:39 (ESV) And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. Something that strikes me about this scripture is the mention of “as was his custom” - meaning, retreating to pray was a habit or routine of Christ’s. It wasn’t foreign to Him, and it shouldn’t be to us. This is the key to overcoming.

Prayer is so important when fighting temptation that Jesus told the disciples to do it twice in the same evening. Just a few verses down, He repeats His command. Luke 22:45-46 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow,  and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Luke 22:40

The disciples struggled with this discipline just like we do. It doesn’t come naturally to us to retreat and pray. Our minds wander a mile a minute, and before we know it, we’re planning our grocery list, thinking of tomorrow’s schedule, or remembering something funny we saw earlier that day on social media. Or, quite possibly, we’re dozing off just like the disciples did.

I believe one of the reasons it is so hard for us to imitate Christ in this manner is precisely because of how important it is. Of course the enemy will come against us and cause all manner of distractions and interruptions when we try. Worse yet, once we sin in some way, we instinctively feel the urge to retreat from God and hide (Genesis 3:8) rather than press nearer to the Father. We tend to pray less, and the less we pray, the less desire we have to do so. It’s a vicious cycle.

As Christians, if we’re going to have any hope of overcoming temptation in our lives, we must listen to the commands of Christ and pray. Carve out time to spend talking with the Father. Make it happen! Have you ever noticed that the more disciplined you are with your daily time in the Word and in prayer, the less likely you are to give in to your “typical sins”? Have you paid attention to the fact that when you skip church for a few weeks or forsake fellowshipping with the body of Christ, you’re more likely to give in to temptation?

This is all intentional. This is the way it works. We need each other, and we need Christ to have any victory over temptation. So, fight your flesh. Rise and pray. And then watch with eager anticipation for the fruit this discipline will grow in your life.

Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her latest novel with Revell, titled The Key To Love, coming October 2020. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.

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