Looking at Jesus
"When Jesus arrived at the place in the garden called Gethsemane, He began to be very troubled and grieved and distressed. Then He said to His disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and keep watch with Me. Pray that you might not enter into temptation.”
And He withdrew from them, and went a little beyond them, about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down, and He fell to the ground on His face, and began to pray that if it were possible the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “My Abba Father, all things are possible for You. If it is possible, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but what You will - Your will be done.” Now an angel from Heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He was praying very fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling down on the ground...And He went away again a second time, and prayed, saying the same words. "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done."..And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more." (MT 26:36-46, MK 14:32-42, LK 22:39-46, JN 18:1)
Jesus says that people "enter into temptation." Some translations mistranslate this as "fall into temptation." Temptation is no accident. It is something you choose to enter into by entertaining thoughts of fear, lust, anger, shame, etc.
Jesus faced something we will never face, the task of taking upon Himself the sins of the world to the point of "becoming sin." "God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was tempted to find a way out of this suffering. He was "very troubled and deeply grieved and distressed to the point of death!" He asked the Father for a way out three times. He did so without sin by preferring the Father's will to his own even in His agony.
Jesus would face the FULL power of ALL sin & the greatest suffering EVER on the cross. Here, in the shadow of the cross, He faced sin's full power in the form of the greatest temptation of all time. He was tempted to avoid the suffering, to choose self-centered "love" over love for His Father and the world.
His temptation & agony over it was so great that, "His sweat became like drops of blood falling down on the ground." I believe that Hebrews 12:4 speaks, not of the cross but of His experience in the garden. It says, "In your striving against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood." Jesus was tempted to commit the ultimate sin, abandoning redemption, because He faced the ultimate suffering. He strove against that sin to the point of shedding blood. His agony was so immense that an angel had to strengthen Him. But to the praise of the Father HE DID RESIST!
The Power of Sin Broken
We Christians now have this same power & person living inside of us, He who resisted the ultimate temptation. His temptation was one that is "not common to men" & no one else will ever face it. Jesus died one time to break the power of sin for all. He freed us from sin. He did away with our body of sin. "God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. He condemned sin in the flesh by declaring an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins" (Romans 8:3). "Jesus Christ loves us and released us from our sins by His blood" (Revelation 1:5).
Jesus broke the power of sin. So not only do we have the power & the person to keep us from entering into temptation but sin also has no power over us (Romans 6:14). Sin (& Satan) is like a pitiful & fallen dictator threatening you with a fake gun under his jacket to do his bidding. Most give in because they are unaware of the arsenal of power they have been given through being born again.
"By His divine power, God has already given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of Him" (2 Peter 1:3-4). The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit because the knowledge of the power is required to use that power. An unarmed man will fall prey to the enemy. An unskilled man is likely to give in also. Train with the sword. You train with the sword by having a relationship with Jesus and reading the scripture. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). So many only resist in the flesh, which is useless, that is what Satan wants you to do. But if you resist in the spirit his fleeing is what you will be seeing.
Looking at His Disciples Then & Now
"Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41).
Jesus saying, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” was spoken to His disciples before the cross. Their spirits had not yet been united with God into one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). They did not yet have the Holy Spirit nor the born again spirit we have today. Our spirits are infinitely more powerful than theirs were.
That tells us two things,
1. Their spirits were still willing even though they were not born again, so we have no excuse to not be willing especially since "God works in us to make us willing" (Philippians 2:13). A Christian who is aware of the spirit God has given them & is unwilling to use its power is like the world's strongest man refusing to help an old woman get a jug of milk out of the fridge.
2. We don't have to "watch and pray so that we will not enter into temptation" because our spirit is greater than our flesh. We don't have to watch for temptation because we are dead to sin & alive to God in Christ Jesus. We don't need to fear temptation because sin has been taken away at the cross & we need not be conscious of it (Hebrews 10:1-2).
The more we know God's love for us & of our freedom from sin the more we will be able to tap into our "continually praying spirit" gaining feelings of refreshing joy & peace. We don't have to beg God to deliver us from temptation. He has empowered us to ignore it. Our greatest, most powerful prayer, is not a prayer of fearful desperation but a prayer of thanksgiving for what God has already done for us.