Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Drugged by Grief


Luke 22:42-45 "Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?" (43) At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. (44) He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face. (45) He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief.


Was Jesus trying to get out of his mission? It is never wrong to express our true feelings to God. Jesus exposed his dread of the coming trials, but he also reaffirmed his commitment to do what God wanted. The cup he spoke of meant the terrible agony he knew he would endure-not only the horror of the crucifixion but, even worse, the total separation from God that he would have to experience in order to die for the world's sins.

Only Luke tells us that Jesus' sweat resembled drops of blood. Jesus was in extreme agony, but he did not give up or give in. He went ahead with the mission for which he had come.


Jesus poured out His heart to His Father in prayer. The Garden of Gethsemane represents the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh is weak, but the Spirit is willing and strong. The flesh says "I can't do this", "Has God forsaken me", "Will it ever get any better", "the pain is overwhelming me".

The Spirit says, "Father, I need you", "I submit to Your authority", "I trust Your will and way".
As Jesus is wrestling with his flesh, dying to it, it was such a struggle that Jesus prayed until His sweat became great drops of blood. He agonized in this battle.

The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:4 "In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through--all that bloodshed!"
Fighting the flesh is "an all-out match against sin" and if we intend to win this battle today, we must pray to the Father in an open, transparent way. We must admit our struggles and remember and recognize who we are fighting against...the devil, diabolical one, the accuser of man, the liar. He will try everything in his arsenal to get you to sin today. If you do not have a Gethsemane moment, where you say YES to the Spirit, and NO to your flesh, then you will be much more likely to fail.

Jesus asked the disciples to pray with him, he knew they needed to experience Gethsemane, but they slept instead of praying, because they were drugged by grief. What grief were they facing? They knew that Jesus was broken hearted and burdened. They didn't know all of the details, but they knew there was a battle going on. They could have fought with Jesus in this battle, but they allowed themselves to lose their focus...and they became drugged by grief.

Some of you may be reading this today, and you are drugged as well. You may be drugged by grief, habitual sin, disappointment, depression, hurt, betrayal, rejection, and the list could go on and on. My friend, others have gone through the same thing you are going through right now. You really do have a choice to make. Will you fight through Gethsemane, the struggle between the spirit and the flesh, like Jesus did? Or will you allow your struggle to drug you to sleep? Jesus ultimately was victorious because He fought through it by praying through it. The disciples failed, albeit temporarily, because they slept through Gethsemane, drugged by grief.

This blog today is for those who are at Gethsemane in your life. A time of pain, struggle, questions, direction, disappointment, distress, hurt, betrayal...Jesus our example has already been there. He showed us how to be victorious. Now, you are there, what example will you follow? Jesus' or the disciples? Will your Spirit man win, or your flesh?

That is truly the question, and it depends upon whether you allow yourself to be drugged by grief or come face to face with your Maker, Your Father...who truly loves and cares for you. You will leave Gethsemene stronger and ready for any task, or you will leave it more confused and full of grief. How you respond determines whether you are being led by your Spirit or by your flesh! Help us Jesus to follow Your example.


"Father, I need You this morning. The battle between my flesh and my Spirit is raging and intensifying. I am at Gethsemane, the crossroads of my faith, and my flesh is so weak. When my flesh leads me, I say things that aren't uplifting to Your kingdom. When my flesh leads, my attitude is so unlike You. When my flesh leads, I have a tendency to tear down and not build up. When my flesh leads, I find myself disappointed, depressed, despondent and in despair. When my flesh leads, I find that I have made sin my friend and not my enemy. When my flesh leads, I worry and fret over every matter. When my flesh leads, I find myself wallowing in self-pity and making every situation about ME and not YOU. So today Lord, I once again die to my flesh. I realize this is an all-out match against sin. But it is an important match to win. Because when Your Spirit leads, I am used to build up Your Kingdom. When Your Spirit leads, my attitude is so much better. When Your Spirit leads, I find myself refusing to tear anyone down for any reason. When Your Spirit leads, I find myself hopeful, joyful, peaceful, and walking in love. When Your Spirit leads, I make sin my enemy, and you make that enemy my footstool. When Your Spirit leads, I cast all of my worries and concerns on you and give thanksgiving that it is in Your hands. When Your Spirit leads, I refuse to have self-pity, and I realize that I am going through this struggle so that I can have opportunities to talk about YOU and how YOU brought me through. So today Lord, I choose to walk in the Spirit. I choose to kick the drug habit. I will not be drugged to sleep by grief, or any other concerns. Like Christ, I come running to You, my loving Father! In Jesus' name, amen!"