“Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
~Mark 14:38 (NRSV).
Don’t we know the truth of this exhortation of Jesus’, especially those given to dependence or addiction? Regardless whether it’s chocolate, gambling or heroin, this is a simple yet profound principle—a boon for everyone endeavouring to conquer a demon (though we should be loath to ever over-simplify such a complicated problem).
The Identification and Nature of Dependence – The Spiritual
Dependence is a hook and anything that hooks a person to itself is sending the person to a veritable situation of hell.
The ideal for life is decisional freedom. Anything thus crossing a person’s arm behind themselves—redeeming their spirit by the ‘strength’ of the weaker flesh—is, in God’s will, to be vanquished.
Why, then, should the flesh win a spiritual battle, the perishing set for eternity? The truth exists in the eternal realm and the flesh threatens the vestiges of the Spirit’s power destined for the tempted individual’s situational deliverance.
This is a spiritual battle waged on the floors of heaven itself. The battle commences without warning and the barrage comes with lethal force. For such reason it has many quaking for ‘what might be’. Fear has a say when in truth it stands not a chance against the power of God.
Fear is banished to oblivion at the bark of the Almighty—this is something to be remembered!
In Temptation, Prayer is the Key
Ironies upon paradoxes upon conundrums and enigmas—temptation gets the better of those who forget to pray in their hour of need. They draw not on God; this Spiritual power conquering any temptation.
“Keep awake,” says Jesus. Prayers cannot be set at the foot of the cross and before the Throne of heaven without awareness of the threat; without the fear of the Lord warning the vessel. Staying spiritually awake is such an important endeavour.
And although we’re bound to fall asleep on the job from time to time—like the disciples did—we’re to pray for the cognisance of emerging threats. “Make me aware at the right time, Lord, and give me strength then,” is the sentiment.
Simplicity is best. To fear the power of relapse is perhaps not as important as trusting God’s power to get us through the temptation and back, ultimately, onto level ground—for this is the trick of Satan (to pull the rug of hope for a better future fast from under us).
Praising God for Healing – The Temptations Removed
Occasionally, there is the vanquishment of all temptation regarding a given form of dependence. This of itself is a miracle, nothing short.
The power of God is able to do this and we cannot explain it. Perhaps it was our rampant honesty about the issues at hand—the seriousness of intent in our repentance—that has abetted God’s power and helped set us free. But never is it to be taken for granted. Never do we go back there; just thankful are we for the release of it.
For all other dependence issues we’re not so miraculously delivered from, awareness of the imminence of temptation and the response of prayer is manifesting the answer, recalling the power present in God expunge evil.
At any time we do what Jesus did, rebuking Satan:
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
~Matthew 16:23 (NRSV).
Human things cannot in all truth compete with divine things.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.