"After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations; but cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and he 'sent me help from his holy place,' And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now I was always conqueror."
I don't have a clue as to what the temptations were that Wesley was struggling with. Apparently, though, as much as he strived to rid himself of them, they kept coming back. Notice, though, what he then did. He says: "I as often lifted up my eyes"--I'd suggest that meant he was in prayer. As a result of his prayer, God "sent me help from his Holy place." Not sure what he means by those words, but they seem to some sort of answer to his prayer. He then notes that in the answer, he seems to get a revelation about the difference between his former state (sinner) and his current state (saved by Christ). In his former state he was continually striving against the temptations with which he struggled. He, apparently, often lost the battle and temptation won. He identified himself as "conquered". Yet, in his new state (In Christ) he found that he was able to overcome temptation and he identified himself as "conqueror."
I think that his struggle speaks volumes to our own struggles with temptation and sin. If we try to do it on our own, we are bound to be conquered. Sin has such a hold on us that, by ourselves, we cannot overcome it. It is only when we add Christ to the equation, that we even have a fighting chance. At that point we can move from conquered to conqueror. I'd like to suggest, though, that this does not mean the move will be easy.
I was wondering, what are your thoughts on this matter? Please share them in the comments below.