Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38)
I woke up this morning and looked at the clock. 7 AM. I wanted to get my day started by praying and studying God’s Word, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it; my body wasn’t responding, and my eyes weighed a ton. Finally, after about 15 minutes of sitting there, debating whether or not this was gonna happen, I gave in, and passed out, only to wake up again around 10.
As I read my daily Psalm and continued my reading in Mark 14, what the Lord was teaching me this morning was clear: those of us that have faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross have been born again (John 3:3)! Our spirits that were once dead in sin had new life breathed into them by the Holy Spirit, and now we’re new creations, resembling our Father God! (This is what’s called regeneration.) And that’s GREAT news! However, as you might have noticed by now, we still live in our old, sin-stained bodies. This is called the flesh in Scripture.
That has some interesting implications for us as believers. Just as Jesus has two natures, being fully God and fully man, we also have two natures: our sinful, earthly nature, and our holy, Christlike nature, which we received from the Holy Spirit when we placed our faith in Jesus. And according to Paul in his letter to the Galatians, these two natures are at war with each other inside of us (Galatians 5:17). We now have the lifelong task of resisting the urges and temptations of our flesh, and being led by the urges of the Holy Spirit.
Whether you’re new to life with Jesus, or you’ve been a disciple for years now, we all know the struggle of wanting to do what’s good and right, but feeling the strong pull to be dumb and do something completely different. It can be discouraging and downright exhausting trying to be a good and faithful servant, and feeling like we’re working against ourselves, right? Let me answer that for you, it is.
But, here comes the good news again. There’s a surefire way to live on the side of the Holy Spirit and resist the flesh, and the Lord shows models for us how to do it. On the night before He’s arrested and His suffering begins, Jesus is feeling the effects of His weak human nature hindering Him from carrying out His ultimate mission, the whole reason for Him coming into this world as a man in the first place! And the way He responds to this is simple, yet crucial: He prays. Yup, that’s the secret to walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh, praying! Who knew? When the Son of God cried out to the Father in distress and anxiety, and surrendered His will to God’s, He was able to rise up from Gethsemane, and go face His enemies head on, while the disciples fell asleep instead of praying, and ran away in fear.
- The Spirit of God lives in each and every one of you, and He wants to lead you into a life of righteousness, a life that pleases your Abba Father! But your sinful flesh wants to do its own thing, and listen to the leading of Satan. Are you going to walk in the Spirit today, or in the flesh? When you prepare yourself beforehand by making a habit of coming before the Lord’s Throne and crying out to Him, it becomes much easier to be led by His Spirit!