When your friends arent there for you

I happens. You may be going through the worst time in your life, and your best friend doesn’t seem to care. They skip out on lunch, forget plans, never notice how down you are . . . They’re absorbed in themselves and they forget to care for you. In those moments, your response matters greatly. You can wallow in self pity and weakness, or you can rise above.

Jesus had his friends fail Him at the worst time in His life. And yet He still loved them. We found the account in Luke 22. Jesus is submitting His will to the Fathers. He is about to go to the cross to be crucified, and He is in great agony. He tells the disciples.

“And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.”

Did you notice how Jesus was concerned about them? He didn’t say “pray with me for moral support” No, He told them to pray for their own sakes. Even at the most agonizing part of His life, He was still caring for them.

In the next verses we see how much agony Christ was in. It says, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” His body was under so much stress and torment from the inner turmoil He faced that His body was mixing blood with His sweat. Within the next few moments, He came back to the disciples.

“And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,” They were sleeping for sorrow. Their own sorrow. They weren’t concerned about Him necessarily. The word sorrow could be translated exhaustion. They were tired, so they were sleeping. They had not a care that Christ was under so much pressure.

Christ’s response?

“Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

He was still concerned about them. He never faltered in His selflessness. He wanted them to live a life free of sin and failure to temptation. He loved them.

I don’t know how I would have reacted in such a situation. I probably would have felt hurt, betrayed, uncared for, or unloved. I might have become angry, or started and argument. But Christ? He was loving them. He had forgotten about Himself and His needs. He was completely fulfilled by the Father, ready to pour out Himself and love those around Him.

Is that how you are when friends betray you or disregard your struggles. I would ask you to pray and ask God to help you become a better friend. Ask Him to teach you how to love others even it would seem that you are the one who needs the most help or support. Don’t be a martyr, or be afraid to ask for companionship when you need it, but don’t allow other’s actions to bring you to selfishness.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4

Wake up and pray!

“FAILURE TO FOLLOW SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS!!!”

The Chief Petty officer screamed at a cadet. I was glad I wasn’t him. This was the third time he was repeating that phrase. Someone in the company had messed up something excruciatingly simple. I was so glad it wasn’t me. I remember hearing that phrase all through the military youth boot camp I was a part of. Over and over they repeated it. It stuck with me- to this day. How simple our lives would be if we followed the simple instructions we are given.

Have you ever been told to do a specific thing- and then you do the opposite?

Your teacher: “Make sure you study hard.”  You: *Don’t study*

Your boss: “Don’t be late to this meeting”     You: *Come late*

Dentist: “Brush your teeth!”  You: *don’t brush*

Being human can be difficult. But we don’t have to make it more difficult. A lot of times we know exactly what we need to be doing- and we don’t do it. This leads to all sorts of issues we never had to face otherwise. We knew what was needed. Why didn’t we just do it?

In Matthew 26 we find just such an occasion. Jesus tells His disciples to watch and pray. And that word watch, means to stay awake and to be awake. So he literally says to them, “Stay awake and pray with me.”

The reason?

So they wouldn’t fall into temptation.

If you know the story of the disciples in Gethsemane, you know they all fell asleep- more than once. Jesus came back to find them sleeping – three different times. Later on, when the temptation came, they all fell. They ran away from Jesus like scared rabbits. They denied Him and were in fear for their lives, instead of standing in faith.

All because they didn’t follow simple instructions.

A lot of our lives are like this. How much temptation of lust, pride, fear, and selfishness could we avoid if we simply would remain spiritually awake and pray. I mean, when’s the last time you struggled with self control immediately after genuinely praying and studying God’s word? It’s kinda hard right?

Isn’t it interesting how the Christian life is so simple. Pray. Humble yourself. Ask God to teach you. Pray some more. Meditate on God’s word. Study the scriptures. Encourage one another.

Nothing is that hard. Nothing requires exhaustive study and contemplation.

And yet, like the disciples, we struggle.

I challenge you, whatever simple things you are failing to do. Find them, and do them.

Watch and pray.

Stay awake and pray.

Don’t let your life take whatever course is comfortable.

Stand up. Stay awake. Pray.

You will avoid so many struggles, if you do.

Dig your well before you’re thirsty

If you can imagine a thirsty and dehydrated person trying to dig a well, I believe you can fathom the consequences of horrible preparation. As we go through life, we can be either prepared, or unprepared for the challenges that meet us.

Temptation, trials, and suffering will come our way, it is our duty to remain prepared for such hardships. Proverbs 6 tells the lazy person to look at the ant. This small creature has the innate knowledge that he must prepare for the winter. Verse 8 says that the ant, “Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Just like that we must be prepared for the spiritual hardships that will come our way.

Every time you go out into the world, you will be tempted to think improper thoughts, give in to wrong attitudes, and entertain wrong ideas. You might even be tempted to do wrong things. As a Christian, you must be prepared.

David said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11 Realize that David prepared for possibility of temptation. He stored up God’s Word in his innermost being so that he would have protection. Christ, in the garden of Gethsemane, tells his disciples, “Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” – Luke 22:46

Fellow Christian, we cannot afford to be a sluggard in our Christian walk. We must prepare, we must arm ourselves with the Word, and we must put on the armor of God. When the battle comes, not only is our dependence on God tested, but our will and our preparation are tested as well. We cannot “do” anything to win the battle against sin. We must depend on God. But dependence comes hand in hand with obedience, and God clearly commands us to prepare for the fight.

Let us not be found unprepared!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:13

Discouraged? Go to daddy.

Ever need a shoulder to cry on? Sometimes in those moments we look around and there’s no one there. As Christians we can enjoy a relationship with our heavenly father that is more comforting than any shoulder.

In one of the darkest hours Jesus ever faced on this earth, Jesus went to His Father. Notice how He addressed Him, Jesus called God in Mark 14:36, "Abba, Father." When Jesus needed comfort and restoration, He went to His Father and asked for strength.

Now let’s take a look at a Galatians 4:6. It says, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." If you didn’t understand what you just read, I would read that again. God says that He gave us the spirit of His Son. Just like Jesus went to the Father in His darkest hour, we can go to the Father in ours. We are children of God just as Jesus is. We have just as much right to go to our heavenly Father as He does.

I would like to encourage you. No matter what trial you are facing, go to God. Just like He strengthened His firstborn and begotten Son, He will strengthen you. Start taking advantage of the adoption you have through salvation. You will never be the same, if you do.

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." – Romans 8:15

Are you sleeping in the garden?

Do you have that one thing that you can never conquer? You try again and again but it seems you will never have victory over that sin? Christ has a solution to temptation.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. He commanded them in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus understood temptation. He knew His disciples had seen Him work miracles, and had been with Him for years, but that was not enough to stand against temptation. They needed to pray. Jesus was about to face lashes, crucifixion, death, and rejection from God. He knew that He needed to pray. He told His disciples to do the same, but they slept. When we read further in the scripture we find that Jesus stood strong through His trial, as His disciples failed to have courage. Mark 14:50 tells us “And they all forsook him, and fled.” When it was time to pray, Jesus prayed alone, so when the tribulation came, Jesus stood alone.

Do you stand strong against temptation? Have you discovered how crucial prayer is to the fight? In order to have true victory we must learn to pray ourselves strong. Our spirit may be willing to live for Christ, but we must submit our flesh.  That surrender can only come through prayer. So I would like to encourage you, pray. God is the source of our strength. He can fortify us so that we can stand. Jesus was in agony as He wrestled His flesh into submission to His spirit. We must follow His example in order to conquer temptation. We must accept the challenge to crucify our flesh. We must fight in prayer until we are purposed to do God’s will. When we do, we will walk in victory, and enjoy the blessings that Christ provided by His victory.

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”

-Jude 1:20