“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.”
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.