Did Jesus Struggle?
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears… Hebrews 5:7
Why did Jesus need to pray? Is it because He, like us, struggled with a flesh nature that distracted him from God? Did his body scream out to have its own way at the expense of following the father? We know that Satan tempted him with food, power and glory. We know that in the garden on the night of his betrayal, He was sorrowful to the point of death (Matthew 26) over his impending torture.
Matthew records that three times that night, He asked God if He could just skip the crucifixion altogether. Three times, He wrestled his own will to the ground, killing it, in submission to God’s will. Luke, describing the same event, says that his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22).
These events reveal a Jesus that had very real struggles. Yes, He was God, but when He became man, He took on the flesh nature and came to know the temptations of that nature. That He did so without falling should cause us to follow his example.
What did Jesus do when tempted to follow his own flesh? He turned to God in prayer and did not stop until He had dealt with it. The picture of Jesus in the garden is one of a man desperately crying out to God for help with his own desires. He repeatedly had to wrestle his own will to the ground and repeatedly had to choose to follow God. This was not a simple Let go and let God, or Just believe and it will be true… This was a fight to the death. Self or God, one had to go.
This is the model then for us. When we are tempted to follow self, we need to desperately cling to God, repeatedly turning from our own will. Daily (sometimes many times daily) we need to do whatever it takes to follow God instead of self.