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28
JAN
2009

Watch and pray - turn off the TV!


When Jesus was with his disciples in Gethsemane, He gave some of the most valuable instruction in the history of the world.  It's easy to read these verses and write them off as something you're familiar with, but I'd like to suggest that within them there is something often overlooked that holds tremendous value and importance.

Jesus In Gethsemane

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"  (Matthew 26:36-46)
 
Jesus asks a few simple things of His disciples while they are in Gethsemane.  He asks them to sit, stay, and keep watch with him.  He finds them sleeping and is let down.  Again, he tells them to watch and pray so that they will not fall into temptation.  He left again, finding His disciples asleep once more upon His return.  Then, this happened a third time.  When He returns the third time, He tells them that the hour is near and to rise.

Watch and Pray

Jesus tells us to watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation.  We are told that our Spirit is willing (to not fall into temptation), but our body is weak.  That is to say that if we do not watch and pray, we are likely to fall into temptation of things that are not of God; things that He knows are not best for us.
 
To watch means to keep watch spiritually for yourself and those around you, praying that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit and not fall into temptation.  Watching means to be spiritually awake and alert, paying close attention to any shifts in the atmosphere around you.  Keep watch to make sure that your surroundings do not influence you, but that you remain constant in God.  Do not let your surroundings influence you, but instead influence your surroundings.  Watching makes you spiritually alert, allowing you to be correctly positioned for every situation, reacting with a Kingdom response.  Prayer is this response.  Too often we are caught by surprise while sleeping, and we respond incorrectly to the situation.
 
If it's distracting you from God, don't waste time following organized sports, watching TV, or being lazy.  Even the things that are not sin must be taken out of our lives if they are holding us back from the King.  Just like Jesus told His disciples, the time to wake up is now.
 
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)