Under the influence of strong temptation

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of John" 1873)

The best Christians know but little
of their own hearts.

We see the disciples professing loudly, "Now
You speak plainly; now we are sure; now we
believe." (John 16:30) Brave words these!
And yet the very men that spoke them, in a
very short time were scattered like timid
sheep, and left their Master alone.

We need not doubt that the profession of the
eleven was real and sincere. They honestly meant
what they said. But they did not know themselves!
They did not know what they were capable of doing
under the pressure of the fear of men, and of strong
temptation. They had not rightly estimated . . .
  the weakness of the flesh,
  the power of the devil,
  the feebleness of their own resolutions,
  the shallowness of their own faith.

All this they had yet to learn by painful experience.

Like young recruits, they had yet to learn that
it is one thing to know the soldier's drill and
wear the uniform, and quite another thing to
be steadfast in the day of battle.

Let us mark these things, and learn wisdom.

None of us, perhaps, have the least idea how
much we might fall if placed suddenly under
the influence of strong temptation.

The true secret of spiritual strength
is 'self distrust' and deep humility.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."