Your walk with Christ needs to be safeguarded at all times, in the same manner as an alarm keeps your home safe from intruders or you keep your car locked in a parking lot. You place extra insurance on your most prized possessions like jewels or vacation homes. Shouldn’t your faith be considered a valuable asset too?
Jesus understood how His disciples needed to protect their most valuable asset, their faith in Him. They were going to need to remain spiritually awake if they were going to faithfully abide. In Luke 22, Jesus was preparing them. A big change was coming and He needed to teach them how to safeguard their faith.
Believers were used to Jesus being next to them. They were safe in His presence, but the time was coming when Jesus will be leaving earth, and His children needed to learn how to depend on Him in a new way. He was going to give them the Holy Spirit. He gives you and I, today, the Spirit. We are never alone to fend for ourselves.
In verses 39-46, Jesus’ disciples were going to experience a shaking in their faith. Life was about to become a bit wild. After spending time in an upstairs room eating dinner, which was Jesus’ last earthly meal, Jesus and His friends went out to the Mount of Olives to pray.
Prayer is the cornerstone to safeguarding your faith.
Jesus spoke of a specific prayer, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”40 Jesus went a stone’s throw away to then pray privately. He knew great anguish was ahead of Him. He asked His Father, “If You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet, I want Your will to be done, not mine.”42
Jesus exemplifies the correct heart posture of a believer’s heart.
Jesus could have (and should have) given in to temptation and told His Father, “I am not moving ahead with what you have for me. This is too hard and these people do not deserve to be saved.” Thankfully, Jesus remained obedient and followed through what God had called Him to do. His obedience brought about a revolutionary change, one that saves every person born in sin, if they so choose.
Notice what happens next. An angel from heaven came to strengthen Jesus. This should encourage you. When you are facing a hard situation, pray. God sends help! You are never alone as you abide in Christ. God will give you just what you need to help you be strong in Him. Jesus was able to pray more fervently too. Look at verse 44 and see how much agony He was in over what He had to face.
Based on verse 44, Jesus understands anxiety!
Have you ever felt this much despair? Have you faced a situation where you wanted to quit walking with God? “You know, God, it’s been great walking with you, but what I am facing now, this is just too hard. I think I will go my own way and do my own thing.”
One reason why you need to safeguard your faith is found in verse 45. Jesus returned to His disciples, only to find them sleeping. They were exhausted and full of grief. An explanation from “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, page 260, tells you that “the disciples were most depressed because of Jesus’ teaching that He would die. They were not only in physical danger, which was bound to come on them, but also they may have faced spiritual danger as the temptation raged in the garden.”
What they faced in Jesus’ day is the same for you today as a follower of Christ. This is why you must safeguard your faith. There are many parts of the world where there is great hostility towards Christians. Many people have been martyred simply because they stand up for Christ. The spiritual danger is very real even today. Satan and his demons are hostile towards God and His children. You will face this hostility as you abide in Christ.
Your faith will not be a casual walk in the park on a sunny day. If it is, you are not safeguarding your faith. You have allowed distractions (from your sinful nature or from the enemy) to deter your focus. What did Jesus tell them in verse 46?
Pray. It truly is the cornerstone to safeguarding your faith.
If Jesus needed to pray so He could and would walk in obedience to His Father, then you must too. There is no shortcut in your faith walk. There is no easier path that leads to God’s throne. Deep faith takes guts, endurance, humility, and a testing of your will. Keeping your focus on Christ and His Word will aid in a strong faith that will not only change the world around you, but it will lead you home to heaven one day.