A bag of leftover Halloween candy sat in our pantry tempting me to slip in my hand and take one piece as I passed the doorway.
I knew the candy wasn’t good for me.
I can fool myself, though. “One small piece does no harm at all,” I convinced myself. After all, they are only bite-size. Pop it in the mouth, and it’s gone.
But, then I lost control. Before I knew it, I’d consumed a bag of pretzel M&Ms, a Twix bar, and a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
When I purchased the candy to give out to the trick or treaters visiting our apartment, I bought all the candy I liked. Silly me, I should have bought the sweets I didn’t like then I would have less likely been seduced.
Halloween candy is a small example of enticement. It only leads to the unwise consumption of too much sugar.
There are far unhealthier desires we face that steer us towards far more serious results and downfalls.
So, how do we pray when our appetite is whet?
First we must recognize:
Temptation is not the problem.
We are not at fault because we are enticed. After all, Jesus was perfect and he faced temptation.
It’s following through on the impulse that is the problem.
So, we can ask him for help.
It is a battle.
It is an internal struggle between the part of us that wants to do what is wrong, that wants to give in to the temptation (scripture calls this the flesh) and the part of us that wants to do what is right (the spirit). See Galatians 5:17
Jesus warned his disciples in the Garden before his arrest: Stay awake and pray – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Although, here I think the flesh is just the physical tiredness of their bodies.
The idea is still the same. We need to be prepared for the battle, and do something about it–pray.
Perhaps if Peter had prayed, he would have thought twice before he cut off the ear of the guard.
Then Jesus added: Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Now, there’s a temptation I hadn’t realized Jesus faced in that moment.
But, Jesus had prayed. He had sweated, struggled, persevered, and kept returning to prayer – not my will but yours be done.
That’s our lesson – we are to work hard in prayer to overcome enticement.
There is a way out. God will show you says 1 Corinthians 10:13.
So, we need to ask God to make it clear.
Whatever temptations we face, we can come into God’s throne room, straight up to the throne of God and into the presence of Jesus and get the help we need.
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