We are still looking at the account of Jesus Christ and His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane which we can rightly call a place of prayer in Matt.26:31, 33, 34,35,47,56, and how we can prevent such occurrence as His today’s disciples.
The failure of the first disciples of Jesus Christ was to teach us the message of the cross as later received and recorded by Apostle Paul:
“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and Have no confidence in the flesh” Phil. 3:3. (KJV)
Christians around the world, disciples of our Lord, have at one time or the other were victims of shattering experiences. We do not even believe our Lord. We believe in our ability and strength more than Him. We do not believe Him when He predicts that we all would be offended because of Him. We do not believe Him that the sheep of the flock could be scattered abroad; we disagree with Him that we could deny Him- all because we have confidence in ourselves that we can prevent any of such from coming to pass. And no matter how we struggle, at the end of the day, we see everything happen just the way He said it. That is to fulfil the scriptures as it is written:
“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written. That thou mightiest Be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome When thou art judged” – Rom. 3:4. (KJV).
Confidence in the flesh, in one’s ability, strength, power, knowledge, achievements, etc can be frustrating as it is humiliating. We often resolve not to do the wrong but the right. Lord, we won’t do this or that again, and yet we do it over and again. Lord, we have resolved to do this thing from now, yet we fail to keep to that promise. We have said, lord we won’t tell those small lies again, and yet we tell; we won’t play those nasty games again, yet we play. And we have said, Lord we will obey you, we will love our wives, we will love our neighbours, we will submit to our husbands, we will help people, we will give our tithes and offerings correctly, we will be straight with our business partners, we will, we will, we will and yet fail to do any of such things. Oh yes! We had tried time and again with a kind of optimism and finality, only to fall back in frustration into the very same things we had promised never to do again, and worse still, fail to do those ones we resolved to do. We find ourselves in a great mess and confusion like Paul, an apostle, in the early days of his conversion when at that time he trusted in himself and had confidence in the flesh but only to discover that the whole things is just frustrating as he openly confessed:
“For that which I do I understand not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do l”. – Rom. 7:15. (KJV)
We were soon to learn from him that there is no pretence about it. Confidence and trust in oneself in the service of God must always end up in failures with distinction and that there is no place in Him to patch up defeat or make it sound victory. The way out is to cry out in desperation like our beloved brother Paul cried in his time:
“Oh, wretched (disciple) man that I am! Who shall deliver (help) me from the body of this death? “– Rom 7:24. (KJV)
Is this not the cry of the one who has reached the end of himself? Since God begins where self ends, we quickly begin to see that it is in God through Jesus Christ, our Lord, that our salvation lies (verse 25). We failed and failed woefully because we trusted in our ability; we had confidence in ourselves that come what may, we would be successful. Now that we have seen our mistake, that the whole thing we hoped on and worked with was nothing but a body of death, or call it a pit of failure, we need no prophet again to show us the secret of victorious living. It is a total trust, reliance and confidence in Christ and Him alone. As for ourselves;
“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves That we should not trust in ourselves but in God,Who raised the dead, who delivered us from soGreat a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust That he will yet deliver us” – 2cor.1:9,10.
Dare we trust in ourselves again? Dare we? “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool, but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered”- Prov. 28:26.
It does not matter what training we have had, what gifts we have and what dealings we claim to have had, the moment we become confident of ourselves, we fail.
“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil; But the fool rageth, and is confident” – Prov. 14:16. (KJV)
We are saved by grace. We are also kept by the same grace. He gives us grace to do what He desires us do. It is not by our hard works, lest any of us should boast (Eph. 2:8, 9) of his ability, strength, power to do this or that. The psalmist learned this truth early. When recalling God’s dealings with Israel in the past, he noted: “we have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what work thou didst in their days, in times of old:
How thou didst drive the nations with thy hand, and planted them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them, but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.
Thou art my King, O God; command deliverances for Jacob.
Through thee will we push down our enemies; through thy name will we tread them under’ who rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame who hated us.
In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name forever”- Ps.44:1-8. (KJV)
What an excellent recognition of the futility of the arm of the flesh and the faithfulness of God: our fathers did not get the land in possession by their own sword, their own arm, ability, and what have you. For that reason, he said:
“I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword me”, as theirs did not save them. Friends, arm of the flesh shall always failed. It will fail us just as it failed Peter and all the disciples. The earlier we admit this, the better for us. If the Lord says you will fail in a situation where you are already sure to succeed, you better accept His predictions and then turn to Him Helplessly to ask Him for a way out.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, He heareth us, and if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” I Jn. 5:14, 15. (KJV)
Peter and all the disciples ought to have turned to Him helplessly to petition him of their desire in accordance to His will. Was this not the lesson He wanted to teach them by immediately taking them to a place designated for petitioning God in Prayer – “Gethsemane:, if perhaps, they could cry out their hearts to God in prayer? It has often been said that prayer is the key that locks out the enemies of God’s will in our lives and at the same time unlocks the kingdom of God and all its treasures to us.
Prayer changes things, situations, and what needless conditions we struggle with, all because we fail to get into a place of agonizing prayer to God. It is time to pray over the issues especially as the Lord Himself, out of mercy, brings us to our Gethsemane. Shalom!