Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Spirit Is Willing But The Flesh Is Weak

Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to resist certain sins in our lives? We really want to get away from it, we pray, we confess, we repent but as soon as the opportunity presents itself we are right back into it. There is no sense pretending that we are perfect or that we have got a grip on everything in our life. If someone happens to look behind the right door they will discover what a mess some parts of our lives are in. Thank the Lord that Jesus knows and understands, and that this life is about growth and not perfection.

When Jesus found his disciples sleeping after he asked them to keep watch and pray during the most difficult moment of his life on this earth, what did he say?

"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41, NKJV)

We recognize that he was speaking to his disciples but he was also speaking to himself. Jesus was faced with temptation in that moment, not because he was unwilling to obey Father but because his flesh wanted nothing to do with the pain of torture. He overcame that temptation by his love for Father and endured the torture that lead to and encompassed the cross.

Jesus knows exactly what we are facing when we are confronted by temptation and everything in us is screaming "run" but our flesh stays put. Someone said it this way: "To overcome temptation one should not run from it but run to Jesus." It may seem like a subtle difference but it is a big one. It indicates where we have put our eyes. If our eyes are on Jesus we will overcome but if we are looking to the temptation we will be overcome. Consider what Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians in Rome:

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1, NIV, 1986)

Our bodies are the weakest part of the process because our bodies will not be redeemed until Jesus' return. We have a new mind and heart but we are stuck in this weak vessel, which speaks loudly to Yahweh's grace and glory. If only we could see ourselves as living sacrifices, not living for our own pleasure but as servants of our God. If we could see the turning away from temptation as being part of our worship, our eyes would be focused on the object of our worship and not on the thing pulling on our flesh. John the apostle was very familiar with this subject as we recognize his message to us :

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4, NKJV)

Jesus' authority in us is greater than any spirit or temptation that belongs to this world or the evil one. Because he has overcome he has made it possible for us to overcome. Be careful where you fix your eyes.

As servants of the Creator of all things, our desire ought to be like Jesus in our attitude of service. No sacrifice is too big or too small considering the mercies he has shown us. Each day, let us offer not only our heart and mind but our bodies as well, as we get our focus off of ourselves and onto our Father. Have an overcoming day in service to our King.

No comments: