When the going gets tough, the weak fall asleep ∙

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 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.

 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”

 41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,

 45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief.

 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions” (Stephen Covey). “Your direction, not intention, determines your destination” (The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley).  

Walt Disney had more than good intentions, he had a clear direction and the will to succeed. Can you imagine childhood without enjoying the creations of Walt Disney? That could easily have happened if Walt had only good intentions. His former newspaper editor told him that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Undeterred, Walt refused to listen to such negativity. He went on to create the Disney cultural icon that impacts American society. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all” (Thumper’s mother and father, Bambi)

What was Walt Disney’s take on failure? He stated, “I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young . . .. Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it, I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse and all of that. I’ve never been afraid” (www.lifehack.org).

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 that night in the garden, the last night of Christ’s life on earth? 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 the Lord Jesus 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.

They had the best of intentions but lacked follow-through. 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 the Lord Jesus Christ 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 the Lord Jesus Christ approached.

As bad as it was, it got even worse. All of the disciples abandoned the Lord Jesus Christ 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

Wrestling with fear and doubt is not a sin, it is normal.

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.

INSIGHT

Temptation and failure are common to all children of the King. 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. Blessing often comes through wrestling. 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. The Lord Jesus Christ 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.

Luke 22:41-44

 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.”

 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.

 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 anguish, 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.

Hebrews 12:1-4

 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!

¯\_()_/¯ 10-18-9

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