Shortly after Peter swore his allegiance to Jesus, saying, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” Jesus finds him sleeping.
“And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 26:40-41)
Peter’s problem: Over confidence in himself made him sleepy (listless, intoxicated, unconscious, vulnerable) and completely unaware of his great need! We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way. It’s such a subtle deception, this sense of independence that overrides common sense of our complete dependence on God. Peter believed he was ready for any battle, but his confidence was misplaced. Our pride makes us easy targets for the enemy of our soul, especially when we feel like we’re at the top of our game. We’ve spent time with the Master, we’ve been in training, we’ve studied, we know our call… we’ve got this! Our Lord’s response: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Everything done in our flesh is always weak! A good dose of “watch and pray” is our prescription. If only Peter (if only we) would simply follow Jesus instructions (and His example) by dropping to our knees in complete dependence, admitting, “I don’t know if I can do this, nevertheless, not my will, but Your will be done.” Peter’s story may have been written differently if he had listened. Thankfully, the author of our story isn’t surprised by our weakness and can even turn our failings into lessons!
Our spirit is indeed willing, but our flesh is weak and needs to listen as His voice says, “Watch and pray – Then come with me, not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty!”