In a recent reading of the Gospel according to Matthew, I was moved and convicted by the passage where Christ, in preparation for his death, takes his disciples go to Gethsemane so He can pray and seek the Lord. Three times he asks his disciples to keep watch and pray and three times they fall asleep. This made me think, “how often am I ‘falling asleep’ rather than keeping watch (preparing) for the upcoming celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection?” Far too often, that is for sure.
Over the years I have participated in the tradition of giving up things for Lent or attempting to form good habits while ridding myself of bad ones. All too often I fail in my goal before Easter arrives, or find myself simply reverting back to my old ways or gorging myself on the item I gave up once Lent is over. Why? Because rather than using the time as it was intended – to draw near to the Lord and rely on His strength to sustain me – I was simply participating in the tradition and relying on my own will to get me through the days of fasting and preparation. By leaning on my own will (flesh) rather than relying on the Holy Spirit through my observation of the season, I was being lulled to sleep by temptations and things of this world rather than keeping watch for my Savior.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)
Christ lives to make intercession for us. So, just as he prayed in the garden the week that he would be handed over to death, Jesus is alive today and lives to speak to the Father about us. Are we keeping watch or are we being tempted to sleep?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us in this Lenten season to draw near to you and rely on you alone for our source of strength. Help us to keep watch and not be lulled to sleep by the things of this world. Although the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, so just as your word says you live to make intercession for us, let us live to be sustained by you and your Holy Spirit. Amen