Overcoming the flesh
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. Mark 14:32-40 As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew that the peak of His ministry was quickly approaching. He was aware that the legions of satan’s evil forces were organizing to defeat Him. If there was ever a critical moment for His inner circle to show that they were with Him was here at this time praying. This was it. Jesus told His disciples that He was deeply distressed, even to the point of death. Surely they could have sensed the intensity in His voice and the urgency of His demeanor. Certainly they could have found the strength to listen to His request. Yet He found them asleep that caused Jesus to be disappointed. They had fallen asleep at the most crucial moment in human history, not once but three times! There are moments that your spirit must overcome the desires of your flesh. Your spirit, through the working of God’s Spirit within you will let you know what to do. There will always be struggle within where your flesh will cry out for its own fulfillment. This battle if not overcome will lead you to disobey God. Even His command to “watch and pray” becomes a burden that at times will be placed aside because you feel that there are more important things to do. Jesus wants you to respond to His call and to be involved in what He is doing. Don’t pass on the opportunity when asked to watch and pray. When you begin to live up to His call, you will start to realize the privilege of giving your life to Him. This means that you have to deny your physical needs and desires in order to pray with Him. It may lead you to leave the comfort of where you are. You may even have to make crucial decision so you could obey Jesus that might affect your relationship with others. With God’s help and grace, work on bringing every physical desire under the control of the Holy Spirit. This will make you follow His desires so you could do what He asks you to do.
Noel De Guzman Westside Baptist Church Los Angeles, CA