Friday, June 25, 2010

temptation and strength

At the recommend of a go0d friend, a few of my best girls and I have started a “Good Morning Girls” group – off books.  In short, a GMG is a few friends who email/text/facebook each other once a day to remain accountable to being in God’s Word.  If you want to see what it is in depth, click the hyperlink.

Our group utilizes email.  One person starts it off, and when you get around to the time of day you have your time with God, you send off a sentence or two about what you read and what you learned.  It’s been a great challenge AND a great learning experience.  It is amazing to see what others can get out of a scripture that you never saw for yourself.

I recently read a portion of Matthew and 7 verses stuck out to me.  I’ve read them repeatedly over the past 20 years, but not until today did I pick up on these verses.  I’m going to highlight what struck me most.  You may get something completely different…

Matthew 22:39-46

9Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." 41He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[a]

45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

The first thing I realized was the need to pray not to fall into temptation.  I’ve known that, but to read it that Jesus instructed it as a “pre-emptive” strike was a good reminder.  And not only once did he say it, but TWICE.  I’m pretty sure that in Jesus-speak that means “YOU BETTER PAY ATTENTION.  THIS IS IMPORTANT.”

The second verse I need to re-read several times was verse 43.  “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”  My shoulders felt relief.  My soul sighed in wonder.  My burden seemed lighter.  The maker of me, of my world, needed extra strength?  My Lord, my Jesus, who willingly walked among us and gave up so much to truly know what it was like to be human needed a little heavenly “caffeine pick-me-up”?  To anyone who feels defeat, tired, overcome by life, that verse should be encouraging.

Why did I not see it before?  I know the Holy Spirit reveals scripture as we need it most – those “scales” fall away and we can see when we need it most.  I am so overwhelmingly grateful to have read those words today.  Committing that verse to memory is now on my list of things to do.

I don’t know about you, but I need a little extra strength sometimes and just having the knowledge the JESUS was in need of a Rockstar “angelic” Energy Drink sometimes helps me feel better about my need for a little extra strength sometimes.