Daily Bible Reading: Luke 22: 39 – 46
I cannot read this passage of Scripture without tears. When I really sit and think about what Christ went through – just for me – it brings me to tears. I don’t deserve it. I can never be worthy of His love on my own merit. It is only through Him that I am anything at all.
Don’t you find it interesting that the first thing the Lord says to the disciples is “Pray that ye enter not into temptation”? He knew temptation would come their way, but He so desperately had to talk to His Father that He had to leave them. He knew prayer would be their only way to “stay the course.”
Christ goes off by Himself to pray in earnest to His Father. He knows what is about to happen, and He wants there to be some other way. But, He knows there is no other way. He IS the only way. Suddenly, an angel comes down from heaven for no other reason than to strengthen Him.
I can tell you personally, there have been times I know God sent an angel by my way to help me. It might be through the words of a friend who knows just what I need to hear, whether it’s what I want to hear or not. Or the times I’m out walking, and I feel like I can’t take another step. Somehow, my feet still move, and I can climb those hills better than I could the day before.
After the angel came by and strengthened Him, He began to pray more. He prayed so earnestly and fervently that His sweat became drops of blood.
(Let me just interject here: When’s the last time we prayed half as earnestly about something? What about our lost loved ones? Someone we know who is fighting something really, really hard. Anything. I’m guilty of it, too, and after praying over and studying these Scriptures, I want nothing more than to get my prayer life where it should be.)
After Christ ends His prayer, He goes back to find His disciples…. and He finds them sound asleep.
How would you react? Man, I *know* I would have gotten in the flesh and gotten angry – especially when I had just gone off to pray so earnestly, and came back to find out it was like they didn’t even care.
But, that’s why Jesus is God, and I’m not. He didn’t get angry and yell. He simply said to them, “Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”
Again, he tells them to get up and pray, because prayer will keep them from temptation.
There are times when all we can do is pray. But, we have to be careful not to fall asleep, or give up praying. Sometimes, God takes a looooong time to answer our prayers – much longer than we think He should. Let me give you an example: In 2008, I got saved. Really, truly, gave-my-whole-life-to-Christ saved. (After years of living a lie, but that’s another story for another day.) After I got saved, I wanted to tell others about the gospel, and I wanted more than anything to teach a Sunday school class. Our former church holds yearly elections to elect officers of the church, and that includes the Sunday School teachers. Starting in 2008, I went to the Sunday School Superintendent and the pastor and asked them to consider me if a Sunday School class came open. I was turned down that first year. But every year after that, I went back to those men and asked them to consider me as a Sunday School teacher. And every year, I was turned down. It was heart breaking, and I just didn’t understand it. I had prayed every single day – without missing a day! – that God would just allow me to teach. I had other churches come to me and ask me to teach a Sunday School class at their church, but I knew that I wasn’t supposed to leave my church. I had to keep praying, and let God work things out in His time. Let me tell you, on August 16th, 2015, I was elected into office as a Sunday School teacher for the 10, 11, and 12 year olds. Almost 7 years of praying and pleading with God on a daily basis, and He finally gave me the desires of my heart. We have since moved on from that church and God is still answering.
If you are struggling with temptation, or the desire to just “fall asleep” and give up – DON’T GIVE UP and DON’T GIVE IN. Keep praying. Plead with God to hear you and take away your desire for sugary sweets or salty snacks. Open the pantry door, and whisper a prayer as simple as, “Help me make the right choice here, Lord.” If you start communicating with Him on a more personal level, HE WILL HEAR YOU. He will send angels to strengthen you, and you will be able to make the right choice.
1. Do you remember a time when you felt like the Lord sent an angel to strengthen you? It doesn’t have to be about weight loss, it can be anything.
2. In this passage, Christ tells His disciples to pray so they won’t fall into temptation. Is that a habit you have? Is it a habit you desire to have? How can you implement it in your life?
Exercise at least 30 minutes and drink 8 glasses of water.