Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak…’” “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”  “Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.” “And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, ‘You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘I neither know nor understand what you mean.’” Matthew 26:40-41,57-58; Luke 22:31-32; Mark 14:66-68

Jesus the Master Teacher, knowing His crucial hour was at hand, had prepared and warned His disciples that Satan himself, the deceitful, evil one whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy, was crafting temptation against them, and they must watch and pray. They followed Him to Gethsemane, where, weighted down by heavy hearts and eyes, they surrendered to sleep once, twice, three times. Jesus, surely exhausted from agony and sorrow, persevered in troubled, gut-wrenching prayer with His Father, His only surrender being to His perfect will. He was alert when Judas the betrayer and the soldiers came.

Rivulets in sand, vertical

Sleeping is not alertly watching. Willing is not doing. Following at a distance is not pressed close. Oh, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak! We can splash and play in the water, facing a peaceful shore, and be unaware of the lusty, bounding waves about to swallow us. We can think we’re firmly standing on solid ground when the sand beneath our feet gives way. It is more dangerous to think we’re immune to the very evils we smugly decry in others than to bloody our knees to wrestle in prayer, resisting temptation to the absolute point of NO!

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:18-25

Lord and only Deliverer, make me keenly aware of the lurking and ferocious enemy who would have me. Keep me watching, praying, surrendered fully to Jesus Christ my Lord. (Romans 16:17-20; 1 Peter 5:8)

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