THE SPIRIT IS WILLING BUT…..?
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.
This is what Jesus told the three disciples He took with Him to Gethsemane. He told them to watch and pray with Him but they ended up falling asleep.
I often hear this scripture used relating to different things such as late night studying, fasting, praying and even going to church. It will usually go something like this;
“I wanted to break my fast by 4pm but instead I broke by 12pm, you
know the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak, God knows my heart…”
and the excuses go on and on.
I know how important discipline is, so I often stay away from this verse as an excuse. I always believed I understood this, ‘is it not simple discipline’? I was wrong. I now understand this better. A youth leader during a fellowship spoke about this verse. It was then I really realised I had understood it in the wrong context. If there was one thing I got from their sermon, it’s a perfect example of the Spirit being willing and the flesh weak. Here it is.
In Luke 22:42, Jesus said “Father, if thou be willing remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will but thine, be done.”
This was explained as a perfect example of the Spirit being willing and the flesh being weak. Jesus knew what was going to befall him and though he knew how much of a tragedy this would be he still asked for God’s will to be done. He, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was going to lay down his life for us, a great sacrifice indeed. Jesus was flesh and blood and in that moment his flesh did not want it but his spirit did. And when he asked for the will of God to be done,
“….. an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. Luke 22:43”
Strength that can only come from God and he prayed more earnestly.
“…in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44
We find it hard for our spirit to be willing because we have not yet surrounded ourselves with the things of the kingdom. It’s down to everyday things.
We find it hard to fast because we have not fed our spirit with the word of God.
We find it hard to pray because we have not developed an unconditional relationship with the One we are praying to. (We pray based on how we feel or what we want from Him).
We find it hard to go to church or stay awake in Church because, the Spirit is only for Sunday. So Monday to Saturday has got us feeding the flesh. We leave the Sprit to starve till Sunday, therefore the spirit remains weak.
A saying goes “whatever you feed grows”, if we don’t feed our spirit it cannot grow. There is no other way to it. The way we spend hours and hours reading or preparing for a test or an exam is the same way we should spend time on the word of God and things of the Kingdom (even more). This devotion however, should never end.
In Matt 26:41 Jesus tells us to “watch and pray”.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul says “Pray without ceasing.”
All the guidance, help and direction we need can be found in the word of God but we fail to read it. We then call on God’s name and ask why he is not here for us. He is here, he has never failed and never will. We are the ones who haven’t drawn near to him (James 4:8). We have not abided in him (John 15:4).
Christians are often encouraged to fast, so the spirit can grow. Fasting is not only limited to food, it can be social media, movies, games, leisure reading or anything unnecessary that consumes too much free time. Time that can be used to develop our spirit and make it willing and yielding to God.
We are in a constant battle with our flesh, our flesh wants the things of the world and wants to serve the devil, but our Spirit wants the Kingdom and wants to serve God.
We need to remember Jesus Christ was flesh and blood, He walked on this earth as man yet He never sinned. He was tempted but He never fell. Although we are human and we fall short, we should ask God to strengthen us and He will.
I pray our spirits remain willing and our flesh never weak.
Ifeoluwa Jaiyesimi. ©
The Revolutionary Righter. ©