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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)

TITLE: Spirit vs. Flesh: Which Will Win?
By Karri Compton


I’m not one of those chipper people who jump out of bed every day, smile at the world and exclaim, “What a GREAT morning!” It takes a few minutes (or hours) for me to get to that point, if ever. If the snooze button is my friend, the off button is my best friend. At least, that’s what you would think if you were watching a live video feed of me in the morning. When the alarm blares, I startle my husband to near death yelling: “Make it stop! Turn it off!” I’m sure he would appreciate me not doing that.

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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donna robinson03/02/05
What a terrific read! I, too, am a night owl. I find that mornings are good for some to pray and for me, it is the night, as I reflect on the day, troubles that crossed my path, that I find this quiet time at night, when the house is still, to be the time I can talk most honestly with God. Maybe Jesus could have used some of us night owls back then. Maybe, i sometimes think, God is telling us it isn't the hour we pray, but like you said, the willingness to do it when we feel the spirit talking to us. Excellent read and food for thought.
Jeremy McNabb03/03/05
Hey! I like it! Night owls raise your hands. I have to admit that my time with God has always been at night, when I feel that my mind is sharpest. You've raised an interesting thought. Great, great job!
Delores McCarter03/04/05
I know exactly what you mean. I am a nightowl too. My struggle is private time in the morning and hitting the gym before going to work. Ha!

Thanks for this great story. I love the part about the disciples sleeping. Makes me feel a bit convicted. Very moving. Great job, my nightowl friend!