Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Today I am reminded of the suffering of my Lord. I am reminded that He suffered much worse things than I will ever understand. As I consider the cross my mind goes back to the garden, and the great spiritual battle that was taking place between the sin prone flesh of man, and the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus had resisted every temptation up to this point.
Jesus was fully human and He was also fully God. He knew every trick that Satan would use, and every lie that Satan would tell. He was prepared with scripture to thwart the devils attacks. He was able to bring His flesh under control and fast for a period of time that would have killed most people. He was fully aware of the consequences that any sin would bring about, and He was fully aware that obedience to the will of God would bring about the best possible outcome in every situation. Satan tempting Jesus was like a beggar trying to convince a billionaire to surrender all of his wealth for a sip of dirty water just because he was slightly parched. Satan had no chance.
So does this mean that Jesus sinless life was just for show? Did He just basically go through the motions in an attempt at gaining the respect of His created people? Absolutely not. The best way to recognize the depths of God’s love and the lengths that He went to in order to save our souls is to start in the garden.
It was in the Garden that Jesus confessed weakness. It was in the Garden that Jesus called on His friends to pray. It was in the Garden that Jesus reasoned with God hoping to find a way out of the torment that He was about to experience. Every ounce of His flesh, His natural man, fought to put an end to this madness. His human side could not be convinced that any good could ever come from such agony. The stress of the full wrath of God caused His flesh to be pushed beyond its limits. As Jobs wife had cried out for him to curse God and die, Jesus flesh was now screaming for Jesus to do the same thing. Jesus did not reason with His flesh in the garden, He wrestled with His flesh until He brought it into submission.
Looking back at my own walk in the Spirit I am struck by how many times I have entered into the garden, that arena where the flesh and the Spirit go to war, and how many times I have left defeated. I know that the Holy Spirit of God lives inside of me, and I know that He provides for me a way out of every temptation, but I also know that my flesh is weak. I make no excuses for my failures they are my own. I do not believe the lie that we should continue in sin, and I desire to be Holy just as He is Holy.
As long as God allows me to live I will continue to enter into the garden, and I will continue to fight the good fight. I believe that I will become more successful as I learn to fully trust in His strength, and as I grow in my ability and willingness to bring my flesh into submission. However, as I consider my losses in the realm of spiritual battles it makes me so thankful for His victory. I am so glad that He loved me enough to endure that shame, and that He was willing to fight the fight that He knew I could not win on my own. Not only could I not live a Holy life when I was a slave to my flesh, but I recognize that unlike Jesus I am unable to win every battle even while the Holy Spirit of God is present with me.
This is not a reflection on the ability of the Holy Spirit. It is a reflection of the choices that I make from time to time to do the easy thing and let my flesh have its way. It is unacceptable, but that is my point isn’t it? I could not have, and I cannot now earn my way to being made righteous before God. So on this Good Friday I mourn for the suffering of my Lord, I repent of my sin, and my weakness that caused His suffering. I pray that God will give me the wisdom, the strength, and the stamina to bring my flesh into submission. And I praise God with all of my heart for His love, for His sacrifice, and for the victory that is assured for all those who will call on His Holy name.