“And He came to the disciples, and they were sleeping and said to Peter ‘So, your men could not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”’ Matthew 26:40.
The world seems to be out of control. The economy is unstable, the political system is turbulent and the state of Christianity is unsure. This is no different than what Jesus experienced in his day. He lived in a country where the rulers wanted to kill him, He was away from His father, and even his disciples let him down. But much like the disciples, our flesh can become weak, too, stifling the work God has called us to do.
Mark Batterson, author of Draw the circle says, “The disciples let Jesus down when he needed them the most. Their failure didn’t just hurt Jesus; Jesus knew that it would hurt them… Would Peter have disowned Jesus if he had been praying instead of sleeping? Maybe he let Jesus down because he wasn’t prayed up? While I can’t prove it, I think Peter would have passed the temptation test if he had prayed through. “
It is so important to keep watch for temptation that intends to thwart us from the task at hand. Because even though we may feel strong, the fatigue of life can overcome us, allowing us to succumb to its wiles.
Wake up to the temptations around you. Be accountable to other brothers and sisters who will help you stay awake. Drink your daily “coffee” of the Word and prayer, the two things that will wake you up and keep you going in your walk with God each day. Finally, if you do fall prey to sin, confess it to God. Strive to make yourselves right before Him.
One Sunday, during one of his sermons, my husband challenged the congregation to participate in spiritual disciplines that will help them grow in their walk with God. One of the disciplines is fasting, which for me is one of the most difficult to do on a regular basis.
Why is it so difficult to fast? Because it’s uncomfortable.
One of my fasts a couple of weeks ago was particularly hard. Not only was I starving by noon, I was craving certain foods. There is nothing worse than knowing you can’t have food, and wanting nothing more than to sink your teeth into a double cheeseburger smothered in cheese, ketchup, lettuce and tomatoes (is your mouth watering yet?) By the time 3 pm came and my kids came home from school, opening the pantry and ripping into their afternoon snacks, I had had it. When my husband asked “When do you want t have dinner?” I quickly replied, “As soon as possible.” When He asked what I wanted, I didn’t hesitate, “A double cheeseburger, please.”
Fasting takes us out of my comfort zone. The physical effects of the discipline—headache, fatigue, weakness, and pain when hungry) puts us in a position where we have to rely on God fully to get through it. Sometimes the physical effects overpower the spiritual effects of focusing on the Lord. Over the years I have done this, I have learned one important lesson:
If you want to grow, you have to be hungry.
Physical hunger is much like spiritual hunger. The less hunger we experience in our spiritual lives, the less likely we will want to hunger after God. The same goes for physical hunger—the less “full” we feel physically, the more we desire the food that nourishes our bodies. Perhaps that’s why the psalmist wrote “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
God wants us to taste and see that he is good. This requires us to hunger after Him. To hunger after Him means to be uncomfortable. Are you wiling to hunger after God?
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