“And he cometh and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest thou not watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37,38
Very familiar verse there, I have used them multiple times for multiple posts. But I am kinda seeing them in yet another light.
A couple of days after my Mom’s services I was catching up on some housework and my mind was still trying to just come to terms with what had just taken place and the dynamics that were so troubling and all the added stress that I will not get into, but the enemy does like to get his kicks in on us while were down so I’ll leave it there.
But back to what I was trying to say, I suddenly found myself hit with this temptation, a temptation that I am sure on a technicality could be argued as harmless, but we know how technicalities work, nothing more than excuses to try to “get by with something” that we know is going to end up leading us somewhere really bad.
Pretty much just an overwhelming desire almost a need to run back to places of my past and to the old friends that had to be left in spiritual Egypt once I began my journey to the “promised land”.
And these were thoughts and feelings that I had not wrestled since my salvation. And I honestly can’t tell you whether the scripture hit my heart before or after this overwhelming “need to run” hit me, but all I know is “pray that ye enter not into temptation” overshadowed those thoughts.
And we, myself included, tend to think of “temptation” as, well, exactly what the Bible teaches us, when we are “drawn away” ENTICED by “our own lusts” but I have come to believe that there are other times, other reasons, times when we are sincerely trying to follow Christ, that we can fall into those temptations.
Luke 22:45 explains what was going on with the disciples a little better because it actually tells us that they were sleeping because of sorrow.
NOT because they were just lackeys bailing out on Jesus. NOT because they just didn’t care about him, but just as he had said, the spirit that IS TRULY willing, the spirit that does love Him and want to honor Him in all things and serve Him, but being human, the flesh that proved out when the Bible also tells us “neither wist they what to answer him” which means that when He was telling them to get up and pray that they not enter into temptation, they could not even respond to Him, they simply had NO answer for the actions of their carnal minds.
They just simply DEFAULTED to the only HUMAN response they knew. I had never really thought about it but HURT, just good old-fashioned sorrow that WE ALL must endure at one time or another just as part of being human and living on this earth, could very well be more than enough to send someone back into the very snares that God had delivered them from.
I have never said I know anything and I have plenty of my own struggles and thank God for a church family that has prayed diligently for me during this, never once pointing a finger and telling me how strong I should be or giving me lectures on faith, I know about faith, the disciples KNEW about faith, sometimes it is not about faith.
Jesus NEVER mentioned the devil or demonic forces when he gave them that warning. No, what He mentioned was “flesh” our OWN human nature, the Adam nature, the nature that wars against the things of the spirit and that is why the action needed was left for US to take.
He told us, even with the Lord’s prayer that we should pray that we not enter into temptation, so that one is up to us, I know that He also promises us that an escape will always be made to overcome these trying times but you know His words ARE that escape.
So on with that story we are told of one who “fled naked” having lost his expensive covering in the struggle, running away embarrassed, afraid, and confused and we are told of course of Peter whose fleshy “magic button” of default behavior sent him into cursing denials of even KNOWING Jesus and Mark 14:50 tells us this, “And they ALL forsook him and fled.”
But we all also KNOW the end of the story, how the disciples strengthened of God admitted all these fleshy shortcomings and pressed on, most giving their lives for the Gospel, that FEAR that made them flee during the arrest of their leader over time giving way to a courage that would allow them to no longer run but to stand and stand to the death because that had faced their own flesh and that had asked God to help them resist the temptation of pushing that magic button of their own self-destruction.
The very real trip wire that is inside of all of us, that I believe Paul was referencing when he wrote concerning his OWN personal struggles with that place in our human nature, “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal (fleshly), SOLD under sin.
For that which I do I allow (understand) not; for what I would (want to do), that I do not; but what I hate that do I. If I then do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now it is no more that I do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me , that is in my flesh,) dwelleth NO good thing; for to will is EVER present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would (want to do) I do not; but the evil which would not ( does not want to do), that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but SIN that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is ever present with me.”
Romans 7:14-21 The “evil” Paul spoke of was not a devilish evil it was the fight his spirit had against his own sinful nature that he had to overcome. And overcome they did!
All of them! And just as Peter strengthened his brethren and the others taught and preached under the anointing of God and Paul sat imprisoned writing of his struggles and sufferings, inspired by the Lord, encouraged by the Lord during those times, never even have a clue that those words would become passages that would exhort and bless others, innumerable generations that would be fed by those words, live by those words and face death clinging to those words.
They all had to learn so many lessons, lessons that thankfully they used in order to teach us.
One of those lesson could be put into terms maybe such as these, we ALL have those magic “self -destruct” buttons, you know, kinda like a default or reset key, they come as standard equipment having been born into sin, born in flesh and some of us, I think especially with trauma based “issues” have a greater difficulty sometimes keeping our fingers from pushing it, especially when we are faced with things we just can’t understand.
And it does help when we think about what they went through and how there lives were turned upside down and inside out with the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.
They had lost everything when they lost Him, but as they soon discovered they had actually gained, they gained the Holy Ghost, they gained eternal life, they had gained first hand witness to the greatest of all His miracles.
And through ALL the suffering. hurt, fear, and horror, failures, and stumbling, and outright falling face first but once they asked the Lord for forgiveness and to help them back up they learned that all that had endured and overcame and all that was yet to overcome came to them with a great reward and they would one day sit as rulers over the twelve tribes of Israel in New Jerusalem.
We all struggle, we all need help and I really believe that this is what happens and is happening so often with so many ministers, preachers, and pastors, not to even mention those who “go back out” or worse hit that self-destructive magic button that reverts back to what they once knew because they are faced with something and just do not know how to process it or how to cope.
And as the one who fled “naked” to embarrassed to ask for help because so often we fall also to the FALSE belief that we are SUPPOSED to be somehow spiritually bulletproof and have all the answers and never know a battle or struggle.
And that is such a LIE from the enemy.
JESUS did NOT want to go to the cross, he DID NOT want to leave all those that he loved, he PRAYED that it would change but we know that He did it anyway for us and for the greater end.
We can never be above our Master and so often we are not taught that and we buy into the nonsense that we are just not “where we should be” or just “not right” or otherwise we wouldn’t be “going through this” so we either end up back out in sin or heaven forbid far worse.
God never intends for us to hit those default buttons and it is up to us to help one another and be there for one another and be honest about our own struggles.
God showed me a little something else with these verses that show us how the name of the path He traveled actually translates to “CALLED”, the same path David had to travel and the similarities that BOTH went through dealing not only with the circumstance at hand but the actions of others during those circumstances.
ALL part of getting that weak flesh under submission to allow God’s work through a spirit that is already willing.
Hopefully I’ll get into next time but for now, if I haven’t been alone in this and maybe in this world of trillions, some one else has been going through something so similar, not even about “sin” but just trying to find a “safe” familiar place to drown in your tears while trying to make sense of a life that has suddenly became uncharted territory with stability at an all time low and uncertain as to what should even come next.
Know you are not alone, we are NEVER alone, we all have those moments, those times, and unfortunately those magic buttons that can bring out the TRIP JUNKIE in us.
And that is okay and it is okay to admit that, the Bible tells us to “confess your faults (troubles) one to another” and “Pray ye one for another” it is time we tell each other and the church that it is okay to have that button, Satan and others will definitely try to push it but the only one who has even knows where it is “located” is you and you alone.
So remember everyone has temptations, weaknesses, and a magic button that could very easily destroy you but that button only has power over you IF you are willing to push it. So DON’T PUSH IT! It can never hurt you without your OWN consent.