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Watch and pray

Our greatest source of temptation dwells within us.

watch-and-prayWatch & pray about your weaknesses

To stay alert to situations that expose you to your greatest temptations, Jerry Bridges suggests identifying your vulnerable areas so you can commit to pray over them.

Then choose applicable scriptures to memorize and repeat to yourself to further strengthen you against your particular temptation.

Watch & pray about your strengths

But also be aware of your strengths—they, too, can be breeding grounds for temptation.

When we think we’re too strong to fall, well, we know what can happen (1 Corinthians 10:12). (Haven’t we seen it enough in ourselves already and in those around us?) These are often areas we stop watching because we’ve become overconfident about our own abilities.

When we trust in our own strength, we forget about how dependent we are upon God. As John Owen said, “When [indwelling sin] is least felt, it is in fact most powerful.”

Our only safeguard is a sense of deep humility as we realize how powerful indwelling sin still is.

Never begin to think there are areas of temptation where you don’t need to be on your guard. That could be your downfall.

Watch & pray about the little things

I know what they are for me; you know what they are for you. A tiny annoyance here, a gloating of revenge there. Selfishness, laziness, pride. All seemingly small matters. Or so we fool ourselves into thinking.

But the truth is, it is in the minutiae of life where most of us live day after day.

We seldom have to say no to an outright temptation to adultery. We often have to say no to the temptation to the lustful look or thought.

And as some unknown person has said, “He that despises little things shall fall little by little.”

Bridges tells he handles the little things by praying, “Lord, keep me on a short leash.” He knows that if he doesn’t get away with the little sins, they won’t grow into larger and messier ones.

Watch & pray for God’s glory

Also remember your goal as you focus on offensive strategies. 

How can you enhance your spiritual life? How can you promote the spiritual well-being of other believers? How can you do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)?

We can meditate on God through his Word (Psalm 119:11). We can stay in close contact with him (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can ask him to deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13).

And as always, we can return our focus on the gospel. Because we’ve been forgiven, we can face up to our sins and lay them at the foot of the cross. We can know we’re cleansed by the blood of Jesus and pursue holiness through the freedom and strength and grace we have through Christ .

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:41

* * *the discipline of grace

Thoughts from Chapter 12, The Discipline of Watching, in The Discipline of Grace

My summaries on Chapters 1-11
More discussion on Chapter 12 at Challies

Day 25 of . . .



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