Matt. 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I don’t ever personally recall talking to any believer who has a heart to know God who did not want to know they were pursuing God’s will and wanting to fulfill their God-given purpose in life. Wanting to do so and doing so is a fine line. Fulfilling the will of God is always hands down the most rewarding thing any believer could ever do, but it is not always what we initially think. I want to share with you the words of our Savior that was one of the most important things He was trying to get across to His disciples as He was personally facing a time of temptation in His life to walk away from what God’s will.
I have been in the Garden of Gethsemane and it is a place that is a little difficult to describe. While we were there we had time to pray alone and in that time of prayer it became a time of reflection for me on what Jesus really went through. It is hard to imagine going through such a time of temptation that Jesus literally sweat drops of blood. The temptation was to be pulled out of God’s plan for His life. Not just going to the cross, but for the first time ever to be separated from the presence of the Father. When we stand in the fullness of God’s presence we will understand more fully why this was so difficult for Jesus to face.
We know clearly that the battle going on here was to actually do one of two things. Fulfill the will of the Father, or fulfill what was Jesus’ will of not being separated from God. Jesus clearly states this fact in verse 39, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus did not get His own will. He chose the will of the Father over what He willed, and here is the example we are to follow when it comes to our lives if we desire to fulfill what is God’s will for us. The alternative is to fulfill our will instead, which will not result in living a fulfilled life.
I can tell you as I am sure we can all testify to, that every time I wound up doing my will instead of God’s it never came out right; and yet many times where I have obeyed God and it did not seem to me in the natural the right thing to do, God always accomplished what needed to be done. That in no way means that I always saw that. There is so much more to life and the lives of others God wants to touch through us, that we rarely see all that God does or is doing when we are walking in the will of God. When we are not walking in His will we have limited His ability to work in us and through us. God cannot bless what is not His will. He never has and never will be able to do so. For Him to work in and through us we have to work with Him. This is why Jesus said He only did those things He saw the Father doing.
When I read letters like Paul wrote to Timothy telling him that Demas had forsaken him having loved this present world, and had departed Paul going back to Thessalonica, this was a disciple of Christ who was walking out the will of God for his life but he was pulled out of God’s will working with the great apostle Paul and went back to the world. It was not the will of God for Demas to forsake the apostle Paul. God could no longer at this time work in and through this man’s life because he had gotten out of God’s will. There are many others spoken of in the Bible who did not fulfill God’s will for their lives, but they could have.
I want to be like the apostle Paul who at the end of his life was able to declare that he had fought a good fight, and he had finished his course having completed what was God’s will for him. That happened because of choices Paul made daily throughout his life. I believe Paul missed it at times as he admitted to the Corinthian church that he had not dealt with them about giving to the work of the ministry, and he even asked them to forgive him of this wrong. Along life’s paths that we choose to take it does not mean we may never make a wrong choice, but if we do we need to make sure to get back on the right one.
Jesus in the Garden gave his disciples two golden nuggets of how to live our life so that we are not giving in to the temptation to get pulled away from what really is God’s will for us. Those two keys are to “Watch” and “Pray”. When you understand the simplicity of what He said it is without a doubt one of the most powerful and important things for every believer to learn if you desire to fulfill God’s will in your life. Remember, Jesus Himself did not get His will, He chose instead the Father’s will over His. To better understand the first key here to “watch” you have to look at the final words at the end of our foundation verse of scripture. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Without this phrase we would be a little in the dark as to what we are to watch for, but this gives you the focus of what Jesus was saying. According to Romans 7:18 Paul states that there is nothing good that dwells within our fleshly nature, and the flesh is weak. If we choose to allow our flesh to decide what we will or won’t do in our daily lives we are going to give in to our fleshly nature that will always want to take the easy way out. As a believer if you desire to fulfill God’s will you are going to have to post watch on your flesh. If you don’t you will give in to its ways because of its weakness. Your spirit desires to do the will of God, but not your flesh.
If you go through life making your choices based on your mind, will, and emotions, and you are not consistently renewing your mind to the Word of God, you will be tempted and led away from what is God’s will for your life. The flesh is weak so simply put when it comes to doing God’s will or your will; the flesh’s way out is always the easy way out. To go against the flesh is uncomfortable to say the least. Think about how many decisions we have made in our lives just based on how we feel at the time. How many times have we made choices in our lives based on our emotions, making a decision because we felt hurt by something said or done? This does not lead to fulfilling God’s will. The will of God will always be founded upon, backed up by, and in line with the Word of God.
Scripture for example reveals that iron sharpens iron. Think about that for a minute. That is one hard object rubbing against another hard object. For example if I took the things that God has used my Pastor, Dr. Mark T. Barclay to speak into my life at times as anything other than God using this gift of a Pastor in my life to grow me up, it would be easy to get offended, which offense is of the flesh for offense is taken not given, and the result would have been me not being as sharp and accurate as God wants me to be. Unfortunately many in Christianity today think that the way you grow up in Christ is by hearing everything you want to hear, and getting things your way. But not even Jesus got His will over the Father’s.
As Jesus stated if you do not want to get pulled out of God’s will for your life you must daily pay attention to your flesh. We must stop making knee jerk decisions because of what someone said, did, or the fact that our flesh did not get what it wanted. We need to stop and take the time to make sure we are not making a decision based on our flesh and not the Word of God. Any such decision will lead us away from God’s will. We also need to be honest enough with ourselves and not just use the old Christian cliché’ that we are obeying God. Does both scripture and true godly leadership whom God has blessed us with to help us fulfill God’s will agree with what we think is God’s will?
If you study scripture you will find that there is only one primary way out of deception, submitting to a higher spiritual authority. If you have found such a leader in your life and you know they are gifted by God to help you why don’t we believe that they can give us godly counsel to keep us in the will of God? Many don’t for if they do speak to leadership about such major decisions, they don’t ask of their leadership if what they are thinking of doing is in line with God’s will, they tell them what they have already chosen to do. Christians are more apt to get professional advice and receive it from their doctors, lawyers, and others yet when it comes to spiritual matters of major issues never consult their leadership. To keep a watch on our flesh we need to make sure before we make a choice we are in line with Gods’ Word.
The second key is simple, pray. Stay connected with God. Maintain a close relationship with the Lord. If I was not already doing so I would lean even more upon the spiritual leaders of my life initially to stay in line with God’s will. We must be honest once again with ourselves here. If we don’t spend much time in fellowship with God through His Word and prayer, how are we going to know His will for us? Just going to church on occasion or even consistently does not mean we are actually connecting with God. If you truly have a desire to know Him you must then deny self, take up your cross, and follow after Him.
So here we have one of the most powerful truths Jesus ever taught His believers. Watch and pray for if we don’t we will be tempted and pulled away from God’s will by following the easy way out of doing what our flesh wants. Doing God’s will begins with our daily choices. If we make sure our choices are not based on the mind, will, or emotions of the flesh but instead our spirit man within and the Word of God, we too will be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker