Watch And Pray

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt.26:41).

It was the end of a long hard day. A day that, for the disciples, had been filled with words and acts difficult for them to internalize. Jesus was preparing to face the crucifixion and had spent the day preparing his disciples for what they would witness in the forthcoming hours. Now, at Gathsemane, Jesus had gone on a little ways ahead of His disciples to be alone with God. He had instructed His disciples to "keep watch" with Him. But they were exhausted and when Jesus returned He found them asleep. "Watch and pray," He told them, "so that you will not fall into temptation." He continued, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
We face much uncertainty in our world today. Taking a good look around reveals a people who are trying one thing after another to find satisfaction in this life. It seems so many want whatever way is the easiest--the least difficult to obtain. If we are headed on a course that will require day in and day out discipline and hard work, most of us become weary and choose a different course, or just give up. Consider how many diets are blown, and exercise routines abandoned.
Avoiding the easy way becomes a job within itself. We naturally lean toward doing what is easiest, and therefore it takes real effort just to choose a direction that will be the most beneficial--the one with the best and the most lasting results.
Our walk with God is a long and sometimes difficult road. It requires from us a daily decision to follow Him. It requires us to become disciplined in how we live each day of our lives. We must exercise our spiritual bodies, through daily prayer and Bible study, so that we will be alert and ready to meet the challenges of each day in a manner that is Christ-like rather than worldly. And though there are times when we feel weak and weary, we must press on so that we do not fall asleep spiritually, and lose sight of the reality around us.
Seared consciences and desensitized hearts render us helpless to come to the aid of a world that is headed for hell. We see the pain and agony of others who fall prey to the evil in this world, and we are faced with an internal personal crisis of sorts--we must either choose to be concerned and be moved to prayer or action or even just to care; or we must choose to be further numbed so that what we have witnessed will not bring any personal discomfort. We can choose to come to the aid of another, a group or perhaps a nation--praying for them and ministering to their need--taking the part of the good Samaritan; or we can walk around the problems and hope that we can soon forget what we have witnessed so that we will not lose any sleep.
The boozier on the streets carries a bottle that holds for him a season of forgetting. He finds, for a time, comfort in the middle of his sorrow. What difference is there between us (Christians), and him, if we spend more time trying to avoid the world than looking at it. We spend time and energy finding ways to entertain ourselves: TV, movies, theme-parks, zoos. . . and all the while we hope to find, for a time, comfort in the middle of sorrow--a way to forget the bad and embrace thoughts easier to live with--thoughts that won't keep us up at night.
Jesus said, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." The truth is not easy to look at. It's like opening your eyes to a bright light after being asleep in a dark room for a number of hours--it hurts at first, but everything eventually becomes clear. We then make sense of our surroundings and even determine how to move within them. It is no use to shut our eyes to what we see and hope that when we open them again that everything will be different.

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