All of my furniture was loaded onto a big U-haul rental truck along with boxes of dishes, books, clothing and the random odds and ends that would soon fill the drawers of my new kitchen and bathroom drawers. I couldn't wait to unpack and get settled into my new home.
As I approached the U-haul and opened the big door on the back of the truck I was energetic and enthused, ready to tackle the challenge at hand. I immediately went to the first box and attempted to lift it up. The box didn't budge. Maybe I just needed to bend more from the knees and flex my muscles some more. With my new stance and mental muscle all ready, I tried again. No luck.
Suddenly I was struck with the reality of my moving situation: I could not physically move all of this stuff down from the truck and into the house. The boxes and furniture were far too heavy. The couch was too cumbersome. I was way over my head. I was way short on muscles! Although I was willing to do the moving, I simply couldn't. I was too weak.
With a U-haul packed with furniture I needed help...and fast. I needed some movers! Specifically some movers with big muscles and lots of strength.
To make a long story short, movers were called and within no time at all the truck was empty and the house was full. Without the help and strength of the movers that U-haul truck would still be parked in my driveway, full of my belongings with no hope of ever being unloaded.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? You wanted to perform a certain task, rise to a certain standard or avoid a particular pitfall, but no matter how hard you tried you came up short every time? Have you ever discovered that you aren't strong enough to fulfill all the willingness of your eager spirit?
Jesus warns us of this dilemma. In the Garden of Gethsemane before He was betrayed, Jesus took three of His disciples with Him up onto the mountain while He prayed. He wanted to go off alone to talk to God but before He went He told His disciples to stand watch. When He returned they were asleep, taking a nap instead of watching as they were told to do.
Jesus warned them, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41).
Even with the best of intentions, the disciples weren't strong enough to remain awake by their own willingness. They fell into the temptation of a nap. They wanted to please Jesus, yet they were easily drawn into the comfort of a restful sleep in a quiet garden. Their flesh was weak, too weak to keep them awake.
When you and I fall into the same dilemma of a willing spirit but a weak body, what can we do? Are we helpless? Should we just take a nap?
Jesus tells us to pray. Our only hope is to pray and call on the strength of God to help us. When we call on the name of Jesus we turn to His strength to act in us. We aren't relying on our own weak flesh, we are relying on God's limitless strength!
Temptations will come. Some days we may be tempted to get angry and speak words that are mean and hurtful. Some days we may be tempted to disobey our parents or lie to our friends. How can we overcome the weakness of our flesh and live obediently to the commands of God? We must ask God for help.
Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ you and I have a Savior who has overcome our sin. He never sinned. He was and is perfect. Yet, He died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and removed. When we pray to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness we can overcome our weakness and be filled with His strength. God will give us the strength to obey His Word and do His will.
God's strength is only a prayer away. So stay awake, watch and pray. Remembering that the flesh is weak even as the spirit is willing. But thank the Lord that God is strong!