Matthew 26 : 40 – 41, Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." NKJV
There’s a valuable lesson in the passage for today’s devotion that I want to share with you. When we allow our flesh nature to rule our hearts and cause us to disregard our obedience to the Lord’s command as the disciples did, it will cause us to enter into temptation. God has done everything within His power for us through Jesus Christ in order that we might be saved and obtain spiritual victory. Nevertheless, there are still some THINGS we must obey so we will be able to walk in victory over our flesh and over unbelief.
We know by what Jesus said to the disciples that none of the disciples “had” to enter into temptation. However, they chose to allow their flesh to rule their spirits. Instead of praying for God to strengthen them for the battle that was just ahead of them, they slept. They did this because of unbelief. Anytime we can hear the voice of God and ignore Him as the disciples did, it tells God that we don’t believe His instructions.
We also see this unbelief in operation with Adam in the garden. God told him not to eat the forbidden fruit, but he disobeyed and indulged anyway. We always talk about and preach on the sin of commission (doing something wrong), but did you know that there is also a sin of omission? James tells us, when we know the good that we should do and choose not to do it, to us, it is sin.
The thing that opened Adam and the disciples up to being tempted and sinning against the Lord was their lack of obedience to do what He had previously told them. God has promised to make a way of escape so that we won’t have to enter into temptation because something is too hard for us to handle. Nevertheless, if we should choose not to heed His voice because of unbelief, then we will allow the enemy to tempt us into sinning against the Lord.
Why is OBEDIENCE so important to the child of God as it pertains to living in victory over the Devil? To obey God is to walk or live by faith. When we choose to obey and live by faith, we are, at the same time, crucifying the flesh nature and living a victorious life over the wiles of the Devil. John teaches us in his epistle that our faith in Christ is our victory over the world. If we should allow unbelief to rule our hearts, and if we give place to our flesh instead of the voice of God, we are allowing ourselves to be placed in bondage to Satan’s lies.
Let’s advance this teaching to the reason for today’s word. When we find ourselves living in unbelief as the disciples did, there’s a tendency to begin to complain to God about the conditions that we have to live in. Look at how many times the disciples hardened their hearts and walked in fear when Jesus expected them to walk in faith. They did this over and again because they doubted the true identity of Jesus. Had they submitted to His Lordship and obeyed Him, they wouldn’t have had any problems with unbelief.
We also see this principle of unbelief at work in the generation that God delivered out of Egypt. Every time the Holy Spirit spoke to that generation, they hardened their hearts because of unbelief. The only way to please God is by our faith, and that is demonstrated through our obedience. Therefore, when they chose to operate in unbelief, it prevented them from inheriting the promises of God.
Consequently, they walked in lack. When they encountered lack, they began to murmur and grumble to Moses and God about the awful conditions of the wilderness. Unbelief had them blinded to the fact that the condition of lack wasn’t caused by God, but, instead, by their own disobedience.
When Christians choose to walk in unbelief, we will be blinded. Moreover, our blindness will cause us to blame someone else for our lack of faith, as Adam blamed Eve. In conclusion, we know the unbelief that both the generation that was delivered in the wilderness, and the disciples of Jesus struggled with was caused by their unwillingness to surrender to the authority of God in their hearts.
Therefore, whenever their unbelief got them into a desperate situation, they turned on God (Jesus). When we choose to ignore the voice of God because of a flesh-fit, and it opens the door for trouble, we must be careful not to murmur; instead, we should repent for our unbelief, lest we tempt God with it and force Him to become angry with us. God overlooked the sin and the weaknesses of Israel when He delivered them; He has looked beyond our faults as well.
However, there is one thing God won’t overlook, and that is a heart that murmurs against Him because it is filled with unbelief. If you find yourself murmuring against the Lord, you might want to check your heart with the Holy Spirit to see if you have missed an earlier command from the Lord.
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery