This weekend, I challenged our congregation with a powerful passage of scripture that has always been dear to my heart. It comes from Mark 14 and it’s the story of Jesus and His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane.
32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Mark 14:32-37
ARE YOU ASLEEP?
Let’s read between the lines for a moment and put ourselves in Peter’s shoes.
When Jesus says “(INSERT YOUR NAME HERE), are you asleep?” How would you answer?
Jesus might have been talking only about Peter’s physical body, but I have to wonder and think that maybe he was talking about something much deeper and far more convicting than just Peter catching some Z’s.
To answer Jesus, we have to get to the heart of the question; of course the answer is actually the heart itself.
WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART?
As we’ll talk about in a minute, we can’t look at our hearts alone or through our own lens, but through the lens of the Holy Spirit with the help and support of scripture.
If we look at it alone, we’ll only see what we want to see.
To know the condition of the heart, we first must admit that something is missing. Something is keeping us out in dreamland like Peter. Everyday we fall short of the glory of God, but why is that? Why can’t we just follow and be excited about being His disciples?
Is it pride that makes us feel like we don’t need Him? I’d go as far to say that most of us don’t think there is anything wrong.
But maybe we should start by praying this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
This is only the beginning of the awakening.
HOW DO WE ALLOW GOD TO CHANGE THE CONDITION OF OUR HEART?
Are you tired? Are you burdened? Are you afraid? Are you lukewarm?
Who wants to carry that weight by themself? Trust me, I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m the world’s worst for thinking that I can fix it myself; that I can magically turn my struggles or failures into sainthood.
“OUR ARROGANCE OF THINKING WE CAN CHANGE WITHOUT CHRIST IS THE SAME ARROGANCE THAT BROUGHT SIN INTO THE WORLD IN THE FIRST PLACE.”
Remember what Jesus said “For the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Christ fell on his knees overwhelmed to the point of death in that garden, even knowing the outcome to His task. Jesus went before us so that the burden doesn’t have to be carried alone. He went before us to make what was impossible for us, possible through Him.
PUT IT INTO ACTION
1. We must surrender to Him daily. Seeking wisdom of the Holy Spirit and His guidance.
2. We must seek to love the Lord our God with our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
3. We must love others before ourselves.
So now is the time to hear Jesus calling. Rise up! Keep watch!
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” - Ephesians 5:14 (NLT)