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.