Pressing the snooze button, again.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:31
Recently, I’ve been struggling with getting up in the morning for my quiet time with God to study the Word and spend time in prayer. When I go to bed at night, I’ll set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. I convince myself that I will get up when my alarm sounds in the morning! I really have good intentions, down to my soul! However, when that alarm rings in the morning, my flesh comes up with all kinds of excuses about why I deserve to have the few extra minutes of sleep. For example, “I was up late, because I hadn’t seen my husband all day and wanted to spend time with him.” Or, “I’m so tired from caring for the kids all day.” So, I hit the alarm numerous times until, before I know it, it’s 7:30 a.m. and I need to start my day right away. While all my excuses may be true statements, my spirit knows that I need that time with God more than I need sleep!
Have you ever had times in your life when your good intentions do not always match up to your actions? Perhaps it’s a promise you’ve made to a friend, but you didn’t follow through. Maybe there was someone on your heart that you knew you needed to talk to, but you lost courage at the last minute. Or, you could be like me, and struggle to carve out that quiet time in the morning with God. Often when we fall short in these areas and the guilt begins to creep into our lives.
As I was reading through Mark 14, I noticed that there was someone else who struggled with good intentions — Peter! When Jesus predicts his death and tells the disciples that they will all fall away, Peter declares, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” (vs. 29) He also insists, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (vs. 31) Shortly after these statements, we find that Jesus goes to Gethsemane, and asks his disciples (including Peter) to “Sit here while I pray.” (vs. 32), and “Stay here and keep watch.” (vs. 34) When Jesus returned from prayer, he found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (vs. 37 & 38) In other words, “I know you have good intentions, but you’re too weak to follow through with them on your own!”
Sometimes our bodies don’t have the strength or courage that our spirits have. Other times, we choose our own comfort over seeking him. We may even declare what our spirit feels, but our actions may not always follow that declaration. God wants to forgive us, just as he forgave Peter; and he wants to help us get past the guilt. We can rejoice in knowing a Savior who understands and can forgive us when we have good intentions which often fail. He already knows in advance, just as He did with Peter, that while our spirit is willing, our bodies are weak. There will be times when we fall short, but we need to move forward and “Follow Him!” We need Him, we need the Word, and we need time spent in prayer.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for not following through with my good intentions. My spirit is willing, but my body is weak. You already know this, and it is the main reason that I needed a Savior. Thank you for sending Jesus to go through torture, torment and death alone on the cross in order to receive forgiveness for my sins. Help me to remember that I cannot rely on my own strength and good intentions, but that I need time with you in prayer and study. Time to confess and repent, and time to grow nearer to you. I love you!
~ Amy Sullivan
Are you a night owl or an early bird when it comes to spending time in the Word and in prayer? How do you balance your willing spirit and weak flesh? Let us know in the comments section!
Additional scriptures to study:
- Proverbs 20:13
- Romans 3:22-24
- James 2:18
- 1 John 3:18