Tonight, Lil Eddie is having a birthday sleepover. I guess now would be a good time to put my fitness to the test. Last year, I lasted until about 10:30 p.m.; then I turned it over to the hubby and picked back up at about 5:00 a.m. Well, this year, I believe I am a bit more prepared physically to go the distance—at least a little farther than before.
The funny thing about this whole party is this: we call it a sleepover, but for the kids, it’s really an all-nighter. For some reason, when the kids get together, they tend to get an extra adrenaline rush and stay up most of the night. And for us parents, it’s really not a sleepover either because someone has to stay awake to keep watch over the little munchkins. So I prefer to call it a “watchover,” even though it’s supposed to be a “sleepover.”
On the flip side, the Gospels tell us about Jesus holding a “watch,” which turned into something a bit different. In the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was arrested, Jesus asked the disciples (Peter, James, and John) to keep watch with Him and pray. Just think about it. He had this crucial task ahead of Him, one that would require Him to be separated from the Father! Oh, what agony this was for Him. And He wanted someone to have His back, someone to stand with Him in prayer. And you know what happened? The disciples fell asleep— not just one time, not just two times, but three times! They turned Jesus’ “watch” into a sleepover!!
Of course the disciples’ actions bothered Jesus because He really wanted them to watch and pray that they not be tempted by the enemy. But they didn’t. And while they were sleeping, the hour came upon them in which Jesus would be betrayed. Did you get that? Something significant crept up on them because they weren’t watching for it. They were sleeping!!
The disciples’ actions really caught my attention because anyone who knows me knows that I can really get my sleep on. I wanted to know why these men couldn’t or wouldn’t stay awake. So I started asking why. Then I read Jesus’ statement in Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38: “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” You see, there are some things your spirit may want to do, but it can’t because the flesh is not where it needs to be. In the disciples’ case, their flesh was weak or exhausted with sorrow (Luke 22:45). Their emotional and physical states made it difficult for their spiritual state to be in control. Even Jesus experienced a moment of weakness, but unlike the disciples, He submitted to the will of the Father when He said “yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42), and guess what happened? “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (v. 43 NIV). That’s right. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, received strength from heaven to carry out His spiritual destiny, and we can too!!
But there is one more part of this passage we need to understand: God will not make us do anything. Jesus did not make the disciples stay awake. He asked them to. He asked them to crucify their flesh, and they were not able to do so. Every day, Jesus is asking us to do the same thing—to watch over the assignment He’s given us, so we won’t be tempted to succumb to the enemy’s designs for our lives and so we can be alert and prepared for any attack by the enemy. Today, don’t let your watch turn into a sleepover. Do whatever it takes to line up the flesh with what the Spirit of God is calling you to do.