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  • Writer's pictureS Oliver

Pivoting Jesus Style

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Pivoting Jesus Style

I woke up this morning with a very vivid image on my mind. So vivid, I immediately searched for the scripture reference of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane chiding the disciples for their lack of watchfulness. The Message Translation of that text, Matthew 26:40-41 refers to watchfulness as staying alert. “When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. (Emphasis added.) There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

watch and pray

This hour in Gethsemane is, perhaps, the most pivotal time in Jesus’ ministry. He’s moving toward the end of His earthly ministry to his ultimate purpose. He is preparing for that transformative moment when he makes His way to Calvary to suffer the horrific death that will reconcile the world to Himself. He invites his three most intimate friends and disciples to watch with him, to pray for him, and they fail to be fully present. Couldn’t you just watch with me for one hour, Jesus asks? They didn’t. Apparently, they were weary, and sleep overtook them.

We, too, are facing one of the most pivotal times in our nation and certainly in our lives. A time that is poised to restore the moral decency that lends itself to a progressive democracy. Many have taken a moment to exhale after the election results. I know I sure did. I could literally feel the tension leaving my body. I have lived and moved in a state of hyper-vigilance all my life, that’s just the reality of being a black woman. However, I have been extremely on guard. It felt good to see that change is soon coming. It felt good to step on the glass of a shattered ceiling and not bleed. But my joy was coupled with reserve as I recalled the parting words of my friend and mentor, Rev. Dr. Norma Smellie. I had the privilege of living in her home during my three-month field education experience in Kingston, Jamaica. She is now about 80 years old and I treasure the wisdom and insight that over 60 years of active ministry have afforded her. Her parting words to me were these. ‘If we could see what is going on in the atmosphere, we would at once be terrified and awed”.

Auntie Norma did not hesitate to remind me that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and rulers of wickedness in high places. She reminded me that our weapons are not carnal but are mighty through God. Her message to me though veiled was clear. Her silent command was to stay alert and be in prayer.

It is a natural inclination to take our ease now, but truth told, the work has just begun. Exhale a sigh of relief if you need to but gird your loins. We have got to pivot Jesus style. Watch and pray. Watchfulness suggest preparedness to avoid being taken unaware by an enemy. It calls us to fend off carelessness. We must safeguard all that is important to us. We must resist temptation and prayerlessness. I encourage you not to be lulled to sleep by a false sense of security. Life as we know it is changing rapidly. I encourage you to stay alert and be in prayer. We are not wrestling with flesh and blood and you may not see the danger.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and encouragement and the good [well-founded] hope [of salvation] by His grace, comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts [keeping them steadfast and on course] in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, AMP).

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