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Willing but Weak

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14:38
Willing but Weak Book Cover

Perhaps no other person in the Bible jumped headfirst into situations like Peter did. Peter spoke without thinking things through, walked on water and then second-guessed himself, and even cut off a servant’s ear. We may see some of his behaviors as rash and misguided, but they reveal his passion and fervency. Over and over again in Scripture, the same passion that caused Peter to cut off an ear was directed at loving and following Jesus. However, as much as he wanted to be loyal to Jesus, Peter failed many times.

In fact, today’s Scripture quotes Jesus during one of those times when Peter missed the mark. The setting is the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is with three of his disciples: Peter, James, and John. It’s a dangerous time. Knowing that the time of his crucifixion is drawing near, he intends to go away by himself to pray and charges the disciples to keep watch. Upon his return, he finds the three fast asleep. Jesus addresses Peter. “Are you asleep?” Jesus asked. “Could you not watch one hour?” Jesus then stresses the importance of being on guard through prayer (Mark 14:37–38).

On our own, we are weak, even when we desire to please God. Because of our weakness there is the danger of letting things and even people draw our hearts away from Jesus. The enemy tries to trap us. How do we guard ourselves against letting those things distract us? God gives us tools, a strategy to use that helps us be on our guard and helps us to guard against those desires that exist within us. Committing ourselves to spiritual disciplines—such as prayer and meditation on God’s Word—will help us continue to be alert and vigilant.

What's Going to Distract You?

In the second letter to Timothy, Paul gives distressing news about a “fellow believer, Demas. In earlier letters, Demas was a faithful believer and companion of Paul’s (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24). By 2 Timothy, things have changed. “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me,” Paul writes (4:10). That’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? It’s a brief statement, but it gives us much to reflect on and raises a question for us. What has the potential to distract us?

For many, it’s material things. In fact, Jesus warns that we cannot place our trust in God and material things at the same time. Instead, he promises that as we actively pursue the kingdom of God, there is no need to worry about the things of the world. Sometimes we get it backward, don’t we? We place more emphasis on the cares of this life—careers, relationships, money. Our priority should be God, trusting him to take care of our life needs. That isn’t to say that we should stop taking care of our families or quit our jobs. But we shouldn’t place our trust in these things. We recognize instead that God is the giver of all things, and we live our lives to reflect that truth.


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Daily Question

What things in your life have the potential to distract you as you walk with Christ? Why do you think that? How can you guard against those distractions? How can your fellow believers help you?

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Comments (11)

Like Angela my phone with all the notifications and alarms can be a distraction. My husband and his needs also distract me from attempts at quiet time. My crafting sales, emails, videos are also sources that vie for my attention. To reduce distractions on my phone disabling sounds would be a good start; unsubscribing from emails would also help. I like the idea of a technology fast perhaps after work. I need to share my struggles with trusted friends like you to pray for these struggles and ask the Holy Spirit to help me.

Doubt, anxiety, fear, control are things that distract me from walking hand in hand with Jesus. Rather than walking in peace knowing Jesus has control and he knows my heart’s hopes and dreams I tend to want to walk the path on my own terms to make sure I get to where I want to go. As a child I learned that it’s scary when things aren’t in control. So it’s hard for me to let go. I can guard against these distractions by remembering all the times God has provided for me and staying disciplined throughout my days while Jesus paves the path for me. I can let my fellow believers help me by holding me accountable to letting go and reminding me and pointing out when I’m gripping the wheel too tight.

The stresses of my job are definitely a distraction – – interactions with so many different types of people, all pulling in different directions. It all takes it’s toll and a piece of your sanity. I have learned (the hard way) it is one thing to believe, read Scripture and pray, and another to apply Scripture and respond in a way that shows Godliness. That is difficult for me and likely others that are driven with intense personalities…

The actions and words of others disturb my inner peace. A whirl of conversations in my head distract me from feeling the beauty and strength and brevity of the present moment. I desperately desire a way to hand it over to the Creator of the Universe and let His peace fill my spirit.

The actions and words of others disturb my inner peace. A whirl of conversations in my head distract me from feeling the beauty and strength and brevity of the present moment. I desperately desire a way to hand it over to the Creator of the Universe and let His peace fill my spirit.

My own mind is my biggest distraction! I start to read or pray and my mind goes from thing to thing and before I know it, I’m out of time.. I have been getting better at this, I find my thoughts are less distracting at night because the day is done. I pray for all of us to focus on Jesus and ask for His peace!?

My distractions are the cares of the world. I get caught up in the news of the day, and how people are responding to it on social media. My obsession with the news often spirals into all sorts of what ifs which then lead to worry and anxiety about the future. I’m considering a news fast after the election that will last until the end of the year, possibly longer. They can hold me accountable.

I guess living a carefree easy lifestyle would lull me to think I don’t need the LORD JESUS but right now I am very in tune with my Heavenly Father because of huge trials that are overwhelming me. I’m calling on friends for reinforcment, as the battle seems too big for me alone. This is the scripture I shared with a friend
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-6‬ ‭
I need the prayers and help from other believers when the battle seems to loom over me although I know my strength comes from the LORD JESUS! But we do desperately need each other ❤️

All kinds of things – iPhone, TV, chores, work, books, friends. I don’t feel confident in my faith, in my ability to read and understand the Bible, and I think I allow anything and everything to distract me from feeling like I’m on shaky ground.

If I could only recognize that by staying in place with God, reading my Bible, and praying, I’d always find sure footing.

C…..I feel the same way. I’m great at reading and doing studies…..but when it comes to actually READING the Bible I struggle. It seems so vast and I don’t know where to begin or how to proceed. I’ve read pieces here and there…but I am filled with self-doubt that I’m not getting from it what I’m supposed to get from it. That leaves me on the quest to find "the perfect version" of the Bible…thinking that will help me…..but really that quest, in itself, is just a distraction..that is the ENEMY pulling me away. I’m praying for both of us that we turn to the Word and find what we need…we know it will be given to us if we seek it.

General business of work and home can definitely distract me. Honestly, one of the most destructive distractions for me is a good show on Netflix. It tends to start a negative spiral of staying up to late followed by being tired and overwhelmed and wanting to watch a show at night to relax then staying up to late again. I just uninstalled Netflix from my phone a few nights ago after staying up past midnight 2 nights in a row. Now my time before bed can be spent reading (sometimes the bible) or in conversation with my husband or just going to sleep. For context, I’ve got a young child who still nurses in the night so sleep is really important.

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