October 3, 2016

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

In the time of His greatest trial, Jesus still gave valuable instruction for the benefit of all who would believe in Him. His disciples obviously were weak, but certainly no weaker than the rest of us. If Peter, James, and John needed such an admonition, how much more do we! Too often we fail to pray because we think, or subconsciously feel, “I’ve got this.” The thing is, we don’t have anything without the grace of God! (John 15:5) Prayer is not only a privilege, it is an absolute necessity for anyone who seeks to follow/please God. That’s why Paul’s admonition to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is such excellent advice. When we are in active communication with our Father, the thief has trouble “getting a word in edgewise.” He will do all he can to disrupt our prayer life, so we need to seek the help of the Holy Spirit, especially since that is promised to us. (Romans 8:26) The better we recognize the weakness of our flesh, the more we will seek, and receive, God’s gracious strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

This is a lesson I have been learning more and more over the years. As I am aware, and for which I am deeply grateful, prayer was as natural as breathing in the home where I grew up, but that doesn’t mean I really understood how essential it was. Every failure of yielding to temptation could have been averted if I had prayed, and that would have saved me a LOT of grief! I know that now, and as a pastor I certainly try to teach it to others, but they rarely have more grasp of it than I did years ago. I really think that’s a major reason the Lord allows trials in our lives: to teach us that we can’t make it on our own, so that we will turn to Him. The good news is that if we will turn, He will help us, and the trial will be transformed into a blessing. In my observation, the biggest problem comes when the spirit isn’t very willing, and sides with the flesh. The devil loves that! I’ve got to be on guard for that in myself, as well as admonish and encourage others, so that together we may walk in all that God has for us.

Father, this trip is a different kind of trial. I am experiencing things that are blessings, and I am experiencing temptations that don’t necessarily feel like temptations. Help me stay in contact with You all the time, to let Your Spirit flow through me to accomplish that which I could not do on my own, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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