Monday, February 4, 2019

Watch and Pray

When Jesus spoke these words, He was talking to His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It had been a long, tense, and highly emotional day for all of them and this may have been deep into the night.  He was in the garden with the disciples praying a very heart-wrenching prayer to His father.  His soul was swallowed up in sorrowbecause He knew what He was about to experience. He had taken 3 disciples with Him and gone a little further away from the rest of the disciples.  Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, who were James and John. He asked them to pray for Him and left them and went to pray by Himself, falling on His face in the garden asking again if this cup could be passed let it be so.  In other words, He was asking if there was any other way for this to be accomplished other than His death on the cross, let it be so.  But it was not to be.  Jesus went back to Peter, James and John, and found that they had fallen asleep – for the third time.  I have so much sympathy for Peter, James, and John here.  I am that person that falls asleep the minute I get still.  If I need to stay awake, I have to keep moving.  They must have felt awful when Jesus came back and said, Seriously guys?  I need you right now!  I am about to be crucified!  Here they come now...  After the long day they had, the three of them were surely exhausted and the still, quiet time of prayer in the garden was just the lullaby they needed.  Jesus knew their weakness and humanness.  That is why He warned them.  Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Some of us struggle with temptations no matter how long and hard we have prayed for God to take it away.  We often believe that when we are saved, we automatically become immune to temptation Just like those three disciples in the garden with Jesus, we also need to watch and pray, every minute of every day.  Even though our spirit is willing, our flesh is weak, and the devil is on the prowl.  He knows what makes you cave.  He has read your instruction manual.  He is ready and waiting for the perfect moment to pull us away.  We have to be vigilant, always watching and keeping our guard up.  What Jesus was saying to the disciples was Pay attention, think about what you are doing, be aware.  We can be spiritually sleepy and not realize that we are making ourselves vulnerable to temptation.  We can become a little lazy in our Christian walk, and blur some lines or cross a few altogether, thinking we are fine.  I know the metaphor is used often but this is truly a slippery slope.
How can we “watch and pray” every day? 
·      Always keep learning and growing in Christ.  Read, listen, learn.  Keep your life submerged in His word and prayer every day.  
·      Stay involved in church and Bible study.  Jesus didn’t talk about the importance of other Christians in our lives for no reason.  He knew we needed accountability and fellowship with other Christians.  He knew we needed prayer and support for this life. 
·      Stay away from what you know tempts you.  If you need to stay awake to pray for Jesus - don’t sit down and get comfortable.  Safeguard yourself by steering clear of temptations that you know will be hard to resist if you are feeling vulnerable, because I promise, they mostly come around when you are feeling vulnerable.  The enemy knows.  
Scripture to Claim:
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  Romans 13:11

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