When the going gets tough, the weak fall asleep
So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. – 1 Thessalonians 5:6
Luke 22:39-40, 45-46
39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.
40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow,
46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
We judge ourselves by our intentions. And others by their actions (Stephen Covey).
Direction, not intention determines your destination (Andy Stanley).
Even with the best of intentions and highest aspirations, we way too often fail those we care about the most. Sometimes temptations overtake us when we are weak, worn out, and can least resist them. The Lord Jesus Christ knowing this, warned His disciples to pray that they should not enter into temptation.
So what was the temptation? The temptation was not to fall into a deep dark sin or moral lapse. The temptation was to fall asleep. You would think that under the circumstances regarding Christ’s prediction of imminent betrayal and death, the disciples would be on the alert. They should have been running on adrenaline. But instead, it was just another night for them. Everything happened before they knew it. They failed, they fell into temptation and succumbed to sleep. This temptation is “not from indifference, but rather from sorrowful exhaustion” (MacDonald).
What did Jesus do? He gave them another chance. He woke them and repeated His warning not to enter into temptation. And what did the disciples do? They repeated the same mistake and surrendered to sleep. In doing so, they failed to be there for the Lord Jesus Christ on this most dreadful of nights. Succumbing to physical sleep prevented them from “being there” for their Lord. For all practical purposes, they fell asleep on their watch, even as the enemies of Jesus approached.
As bad as it was, it got even worse. All of the disciples abandoned the Lord Jesus and fled as He predicted they would (Matthew 26:56). Such personal failures do not take the Father by surprise nor alter His plans. Although we are responsible for our decisions, our decisions are part of a larger plan, determined and written of in advance.
REFLECT & PRAY
Temptation and failure are all too common for us each of us.
Father encourage me to not give up and keep watching and praying. I am well aware that my spirit is willing, but my physical body is weak.
When faced with very difficult choices, rather than follow what we know the Father wants us to do, all too often we come up with our own plan. The Lord Jesus Christ wrestled with this dilemma. Wrestling with fear and doubt is not a sin, it is normal. But when all the words are said, all the arguments are raised, and the wrestling is over, what we do next reveals our character and steadfastness. Jesus is the perfect example of resisting temptation and choosing to follow the Father’s plan even though it would lead to horrific anguish, torment, and death.
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
In His agony, fervent prayers, and final choices the Lord Jesus Christ modeled perfect submission. He provided a pattern we too can follow. For the Lord Jesus, it was a simple matter of priorities. Who gets the final say? Who has the final word? Without further hesitation, the Lord Jesus decided. His words ring out for all eternity, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”
We can follow Him. We can successfully resist even the greatest temptations and struggles.
1 Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
What was it that enabled the Lord Jesus to endure the cross? During His time on earth, He did not exercise His divine powers for His personal interests or needs.
It was the Lord’s faith that enabled Him to endure. Rather than being dragged down in the now, He focused on “the joy that was set before Him.”
By submitting to the Father’s will, the Lord Jesus Christ reconciled the world to the Father. He successfully made atonement for sin through His death, and resurrection. He made eternal salvation available for all that would accept it. One day He will have the great joy of ushering all believers into the eternal glory of the Father’s kingdom (Jude 24-25).
Mission accomplished! Job well done!