In Matthew 26 we find Jesus and His disciples in a place called Gethsemene, a garden located on the Mount of Olives which lies just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Coming to the garden, Jesus told His companions to stay there while He, Peter and the sons of Zebedee went a little farther where they stopped to pray. Verses 37 and 38 reveal that the Lord, knowing that He would die a horrible death that day, was sorrowful and under great stress. After praying for a while He left the three behind with instructions to “watch” while He went a little farther where He stopped, fell on His face and prayed that God might provide another way for him to fulfill His messianic commission. But above all, God’s will was to be done. Returning to the three disciples, He found them asleep. “What?” He asked, “could you not “watch” with Me one hour? Watch and pray, so that you enter not into temptation. Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak.” In this context the word “watch” means to be alert–to be aware of one’s surroundings and what might be lurking in them. Recently I took my five-year-old grandson to a nearby creek. Before leaving I warned him to “watch” out for snakes. A few minutes later we found a water moccasin not more than three feet away from where we were standing. He blended in so well with his surroundings that, if I had not been “watching” I would not have seen him. There is a good spiritual lesson in this episode: SATAN BLENDS INTO RELIGION BY HAVING HIS FALSE PROPHETS SPEAK BIBLICAL-SOUNDING WORDS THAT ARE ACCEPTED AS TRUTH BY THOSE WHO ARE NOT “WATCHING” OUT FOR HIM. His deceiving of Adam and Eve with one word–“not”–serves as a present day example of how he operates.
Twice more Jesus went away alone and prayed alone. After a time He returned and found the disciples asleep–again. Upon awakening them and said something strange: “Sleep on now, and take your rest” for what was destined to happen was about to happen. Note that after awakening them He told them to “sleep on.” Would they be awake or asleep? In their case–both. Which is the condition most in professing Christendom find themselves. When it came to spending their available time with the Almighty, the disciples were “asleep on the job.” While they were supposed to be “watching” they were mentally and physically unconscious to the danger coming at them. The warning Jesus had given Peter earlier was about to come to fruition–Satan was about to “… sift you (him) as wheat” (Lk. 22:31). Unconverted and operating under his own power, the disciple would prove to be no match for the devil. Peter’s denial of Jesus three times in the early morning hours reveal how helpless we are without the power of the Holy Spirit, which can only be received by prayer. Fasting helps, but prayer is the key to receiving and retaining God’s Holy Spirit power.
At times in the past I have found myself losing Spiritual power to overcome Satan’s attacks, which we must do if we are to qualify for salvation (Rev. 3:21). When this happened I would find myself coming under extreme temptation and in a life or death struggle to keep from yielding to him. In every case the problem was prayer, or rather the lack thereof. We are a busy generation. Satan has filled our time with many enjoyable things to do. Beginning in the 1950’s the advent of television destroyed the prayer life of many, if not most God seekers. There were so many things to see and hear that had not been available in the home prior to that time. One had to go to a theatre in order to enjoy such visual treats. A new “reality” had opened up in mankind’s living rooms and the world, including the church world, was determined to absorb as much of it as possible. Almost over night a routine developed that became as predictable as a clock. The zombeization of the civilized world had begun. Mankind’s after-work actions were programmed by the devil himself.
Following the evening meal the “t.v. generation” sat down in front of the “boob tube” where for the next four to six hours one mind-numbing bit of fantasy after another kept us in a mental stupor until bed time. Then, with our last bit of energy, the “Christian world” read a few verses out of the Bible, prayed a short prayer, then went to sleep, totally convinced that we had done all we needed to do relative to our “Christian walk.” After all, did we not go to church three times a week? God, we had convinced ourselves, was pleased with out efforts on His behalf.
Then came the internet with its portable screens and attention-grabbing offerings. Man no longer had to wait until after work to enter the devil’s fantastic world located “out there.” Man now had that world in his hands. And he has not looked up since. The zombie generation had been born, and it would birth ever more zombies who would be captivated by ever more incredible portable brains which would produce ever greater inventions designed by Satan to substitute for human thought and reason. The ultimate goal was to get man’s mind off of God. His success is nothing less than amazing. All of this continuous gazing takes time. Satan is hard at work creating ever more incredible devices to consume ever more of man’s time.
After the Lord instantly delivered me from t.v. addiction I realized how much time I had been giving to the meaningless escape mechanisms offered by the various networks. I found that this was time the Lord wanted me to give to Him. I wish that all true God seekers would earnestly and honestly seek His will relative to the time they give to such pursuits. I say to those who have done so and are obeying Him, stay the course. To those who have not, please do so. You will find that the spiritual rewards are wonderful. Time, we all know, is something we can’t get back. When it’s gone–it’s gone. Let us “redeem” it as the Lord commands. Let us sanctify our free time and use it to learn more about Him. L.J.