March 09, 2014

The Spirit Is Willing

Mark 14:32-42

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
—Mark 14:38


We rarely see the flaws in our character until we are tested. Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray with him, but they dozed off. By surrendering to a small temptation, they lacked the spiritual strength to fight off a much greater one. The disciples gave in to the weakness of the flesh, and as a result they were not prepared to support Jesus during his trial and crucifixion.

Our flesh is our own weak-willed human nature without the power of God. Our natural capabilities fail in the midst of temptation, so we need a divine infusion of persistence and endurance from the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit, we have the ability to defeat any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Throughout the Bible we learn that the Holy Spirit equips us for many tasks. The Spirit empowers the believer in many ways.

As Mark shows, the Spirit of God leads Jesus’ followers into and through struggles and adversity. We do not have to be worried if we are in trying circumstances, because the Holy Spirit will give us words to speak that come from God himself (Mark 13:11).

We live in the age of the Spirit today. We can call upon the Holy Spirit to strengthen our spirits to resist any temptation. What a gift from the God who never stops giving himself for us. Ask, seek, and knock—call on the Lord!

Lord, we confess that we are weak in fighting temptations. May your Holy Spirit enlighten our spirits to the divine power at our disposal. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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