Posted on this site 8th March 2007
SPIRITUALITY IS SLEEPLESS
BY: ROMEO CORSINI
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gesthemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done." And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going; behold the one who betrays Me is at hand!...Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?" Matt 26:37-53.
I have been pondering the significance of Jesus being accused by His own people, and then, though they wanted to be the ones to kill Him, His having to endure the death meted out by the world's method: the Roman crucifixion and the world being the one to use it against Him. I have also wondered what it was that Jesus was being grieved and distressed about. Was it actually the death ahead of Him? All things point to His being resigned to be in the hands of the Father. He knew it was the Father who was involved because He kept referring to the Father's will to be done and not His own. Mat 26:39 and 42. He had never before demonstrated any trepidation while He walked the dangerous road of blasphemy and heresy, which welcomed stoning to the death. Yet now, at this hour of inevitable betrayal, He showed signs of sorrow and anguish over what He was about to endure...this man, who had lived a life of righteousness, who loved the way of the Lord to the extent that nothing offended Him...(Psa 119:165 (KJV) Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.) Now, however, He was facing the prospect of having to become sin, having not known sin, 2 Cor 5:21 (KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus knew what the Father was about to do. This was the great anguish: the perfect suffering the consequences of the imperfect (Isa 53:6 (KJV) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.)
I yearn for the righteousness of God to be strong enough in me to weather the storms of oppression, to withstand the wiles of temptation. I yearn to love the Lord so much that I would sweat blood at the thought that I would have to endure a sinful experience. Would that I could hate sin that way! Heb 12:4 (KJV) Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. How can I achieve the life of Jesus that was so intense in His zeal for the Father's will that He ultimately faced it all because of what He knew? Heb 12:2 (KJV) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. I yearn to be so discerning that I will know why I must endure that which is ahead of me without fear. Paul said, 1 Cor 15:55(KJV) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? There is a place in His Spirit where peace is so abundant that time is irrelevant and need is meager and simple to meet. I yearn to know that place.
How much I admire Jesus, my Lord!
I admire Him for being the one who did succeed in His resistance; for being a man without guile; for being disciplined and orderly; for keeping His life simple to the degree that vanity did not interfere with responsibility; for being committed and dedicated; for being gentle and firm; for knowing what He wanted; for knowing the Father so well that He loved Him immensely! I admire Jesus for being strong at heart; for being prepared to answer with the truth; for courage under fire; for strength against temptation; for having such a great sense of values that he would weigh each action and reaction beforehand. Oh, that I could grasp such wisdom and remember it! Eccl 7:19 (KJV) Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. Jesus knew about being balanced. He did not shake his head at the prostitute. He rather encouraged her by not condemning her and by leading her in the direction of righteousness. John 8:10-11 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, no man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. "I am more interested in you doing better and succeeding and not in condemning you." How focused and clear-minded of Him! More precious than punishment is redemption! I love the peace and confidence I feel in the Lord. Yet, I still need Him to remind me that I need Him.
There are times when I fall asleep, forgetting the dangers around me of temptation or deceit or spiritual laziness. In that sleep, I can become unaware of the approaching capture of myself to be cast into the realm of worldliness, delivering me to the consequences of worldliness, crucifixion, even by that which seemed righteous. Mat 26:47-50 (KJV) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. It can happen in your own home when you assume that because it is a relative you don't need to remember the presence of the Lord and thereby fail to honor Him with your behavior. It can happen when you take on the attitude that something is a small thing and can't do much harm. Song 2:15 (KJV) Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines...
What has been happening to many is this: the holiness of the Lord and His presence has been diminishing in our considerations. The awe of Him is many times missing and causes us to ignore Him completely. We sleep away, carelessly, and fail to guard His precious presence in our midst, in our selves. He is always returning to us, as symbolized by His thrice urging of Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, to remind us to tarry and watch. This proves His faithfulness to us. But we continue to prove ourselves undisciplined and selfish. Should we not be learning the strengths of His character? The Lord has been teaching me how to grasp the good points of people I know and keep them for myself. If a man is organized, (the opposite is my worst nemesis!), then I grasp that man's ways as I can. If he is kindly and knows how to react righteously, I will study his way and try to make it my own. Right is right. Good is good. These things are God and they are not patented by any man: they belong to all of us. How many times I have regretted not having reacted the way I know a good friend of mine would have! There I was asleep, not giving care to protect the Lord's presence within me! It took one kiss and the world descended upon me.
Sometimes I relish getting into deep thoughts and explanations, of Hebrew and Greek, etc. Yet, most often I find the Lord wants me to work on my character that I might not so easily fall asleep at crucial times. For this to work well in my life, I know that I must continue to develop in the spiritual gifts that I know I possess. 1 Cor 14:12 (KJV) Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Consider that you too are the church and that the instruction is for you to be zealous of spiritual gifts that you may excel to the edifying of yourselves. It is easy to know what you are to work on. The things external point to the things internal. It is easy to spot me at my most undisciplined self; Look at my mess! It is easy to notice my sleeping; Look at my laziness! It is easy to see where I stand; Listen to my anger! Want to know how spiritual I am or am not? Look at how complicated I am not or I am! These things I say now because the more I try to delve into deep things!, the more, instead, I seem to want to be likening myself to Him. The stronger my discernment of things spiritual the stronger the forces coming after me to counter my resolve. I say these things because I know that if I am going through them, so are others and the Lord would have us hear. This too is being a witness.
Acting and reacting seem to be the very things the Lord avoided that night at Gesthemane. He allowed things to go their way because the Father was in full control. The turnout was to be His doing. He could have reacted by arguing for His defense or fighting His way out. He could have acted by calling on a host of angels. Mat 26:53 (KJV) Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But let the will of God, the Father, be done! For the glory of the end of it is far greater. Put away the sword of contention and defense and learn the strength of the Father's will. Mat 26:51-52 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. He is my glory and the lifter of my head. Psa 3:3 (KJV) But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter of mine head.