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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 (1)

My phone and online shopping are my biggest distractions. I am fasting and giving up online shopping for a month. I need to pray and focus on God and his word and not focus on an online sale.

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