Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh Mark 14:32-42

Feeling distressed and weak, Jesus was praying fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane. An angel was sent to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43).

Jesus returned to the inner circle of disciples only to find them sleeping. He addressed Peter specifically in Mark 14:37-38 because he was full of himself - confident that he would not deny Jesus even if all the other disciples did (Mark 14:29). Jesus had earlier told Peter that he would deny Him not once but three times. Instead of realizing and admitting his weakness, Peter insisted that he would not deny Jesus; he would even be prepared to die with Jesus (Mark 14:31).

Jesus prayed; Peter did not. Did self-confidence kept Peter from praying? Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7:15-17, NLT)
It is impossible to live the Christian life. You cannot live it by resolute determination; you resolve not to sin but you sin. You cannot live it by self-efforts; Peter tried and failed. It is impossible to live the Christian life because the flesh is weak. In the flesh, we are unable to live a life that is pleasing to God. But God does not leave us helpless. In Romans 8:1-4, Paul tells us that God has given us His Spirit to bring about in us what we, in the flesh, cannot accomplish.

Spiritual Exercise: What do you do when you are tempted? Do you pander to your flesh or do you pray? Do you give in to the lusts of your flesh or do you obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord that no temptation has overtaken me except what is common to man. I praise you for you are faithful; you will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. Give me the wisdom to know the way of escape which you have provided.


Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © January 2010 by Alan S.L. Wong

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