So how are you feeling this morning? Great day yesterday? I was reading lots of good reports via Twitter of great things happening in many churches yesterday as the Holy Spirit was moving. I even heard of a four hour soaking of worship and prophecy last night. It must have been awesome. We too had an incredible time in the Spirit as he came in and broke us, melted us, and began to re-mould us and I pray filled us. Sundays can be such incredible moments of break through and growth when we allow them to be. We are surrounded by our spiritual family who love us and who we love in return. It is a time of heightened awareness of the Spirit, of ourselves and of what God is doing. Things get dealt with on Sunday, in worship but especially in the Word. Then there is Monday morning.
I worry sometimes that Sunday can be an artificial thing for us. It makes us feel good, great things happen, we are encouraged, but it all happens in the emotions so that nothing is really changed. Just dealing with emotions means that we are staying safely on the surface of things and nothing ever gets changed on the surface. The testing ground is really Monday morning. We either wake up with a changed heart, changed perspective, changed way of thinking, with more love, grace, patience, joy and forgiveness or we wake up no different than we were last week. If you wake up changed then you definitely spent time in God's glory yesterday but if you wake up the same then all you did yesterday was enjoy singing and having your emotions stirred up. This is sad if you spent four hours "soaking" and woke up the same. Spending real time with Jesus changes us. Still, our greatest battle will continue to be ourselves. We have a perfect illustration to understand this.
Jesus was facing is gravest hour. The time of his arrest was approaching. He did not want to be alone and he needed to be in prayer, so he brought Peter, James and John with him, to join him in prayer. It was a difficult moment:
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 6:38)
Strange words from Jesus but he understood what was about to happen. He understood the pain, the abandonment, the sense of loneliness, the torture, the nails, the weight of the world's sin, and death. God was about to experience death. The Creator was about to understand the suffering of his creation and experience death and all he asked was that his friends would stay with him, pray and wait.
Our body is a terrible thing you know. It is our weakest point, the place where we often defeat ourselves. It becomes hungry and weary. It has cravings for sins. It puts demands on us that displease God. It becomes tired. How many times have you been determined to spend time in prayer only to fall asleep? How many times have you wanted to spend time in the Word only to become too weary so you watched TV instead? How many times have you wanted something spiritual only to be undone by your flesh? The disciples were no better. Perhaps if they had understood what was about to happen it would have been different, but we seldom know what is about to happen. We need to trust when the Spirit prompts us to pray, even when we are woken in the middle of the night:
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)
So often our spirit wants so much more than what our body, our flesh is willing to yield. Three times Peter, James and John fell asleep:
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. (Matthew 26:43)
You know what that feels like, when the weariness, the exhaustion is just too much and you can't fight the heaviness of your eyes. I have experienced it more often then I would like to admit. So many spiritual moments, so many blessed times in the Spirit are interrupted by our flesh. This Monday morning may be one of them if you are not paying attention or if you were not sincere in Sunday's "soaking". Perhaps this is the reason the Apostle Paul said that he would not allow his body to dictate to him but that he would force his body into submission:
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
If Sunday truly was as great as we think it was then we should be prepared to force our body into submission today and allow our spirit to rise up in control. When things come against us today we will not allow our bodies to tell us how to react or allow our emotions to take control but instead our spirit will rise up in praise and adoration and we will trust the Lord. When the bad mood tries to undo what the Spirit did yesterday we will push it aside; no, we will kick it aside! and praise our Lord Jesus. We will trust that he will equip us for today, to overcome the things that would defeat us so that we can serve him by living a life of love, grace, forgiveness and patience. We cannot spend time with Jesus without his character rubbing off on us.
Remember, we are more than those disciples were in that moment. They did not have the Holy Spirit and we do. The Church had yet to be birthed but today we are living stones within her walls. We are surrounded by the Body of Christ, we are possessed by the Spirit, we have the knowledge of the Word, we are surrounded by a great host of witnesses who testify to the changing power of God lived out in our lives by faith. We have no excuse for Monday morning syndrome, for falling asleep during these spiritual battles. Let's continue Sunday's great celebration right through this week until we gather again to celebrate this week's victories. God is good all the time; even on Monday mornings.