Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)
TITLE: Spirit vs. Flesh: Which Will Win?
By Karri Compton
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I am not a morning person, but Christ set an example by getting up to pray “very early in the morning” (Mark 1:35a, NIV). And while it was still dark! God, why did you make me a night owl? That question has coursed through my mind more times than I can count. I can spend time with God any time of day, but in order to follow Christ’s model, I must subdue the flesh instead of subduing the alarm clock with a sledgehammer. Easier said than done.
So, I searched the scriptures to find verses that would aid me in my quandary. I stumbled across a situation not unlike my own, and was surprised at what I found.
In Matthew 26, Jesus is agonizing in prayer, with His disciples close by, in Gethsemane prior to His arrest. Meanwhile, Peter, James, and John have gotten comfortable and are enjoying some shuteye. When Jesus comes back for them, he scolds them for sleeping and encourages them to watch and pray so that they wouldn’t fall into temptation. “…the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mat. 26:41b, KJV). This happens a second time, and He doesn’t bother to wake them up. Apparently, the disciples weren’t motivated enough to obey. The third time Jesus comes back, he rebukes them again and informs them that it’s time for Him to be betrayed.
In reading this, two things jumped out at me. Firstly, the disciples weren’t any different from me. I’m sure they wanted to do what Jesus told them to do, but they were exhausted. They had to have known something big was going to happen, though. Still, they couldn’t even pray for one hour. While this isn’t necessarily encouraging, at least I know I’m not alone and I can still make something of myself in spite of my weaknesses. Secondly, the disciples, by praying, wouldn’t have been able to stop the crucifixion, because it was God’s will. I believe, however, that they would’ve been less scared and more confident if they had continued in prayer. There is a joy in knowing you have communed with God and shared in the accomplishment of His plans. There is a peace in knowing what God wants and agreeing with Him. Many times I want to affect the outcome of certain circumstances with my prayers, instead of just accepting what God is going to do and responding to it correctly.
Yes, I did hit the snooze button several times this morning. My spirit, like the disciples’, is willing. My flesh, however, is very weak. My continued prayer is that God will create in me a true hunger for Him that supercedes my need for sleep or anything else. And that when I fail in this area, I will be able to pick myself back up and try again for God’s glory.
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