Written by the fantastic Sarah Long. Sarah works for the Diocese of Winchester as Youth Adviser having previously worked for Romance Academy and as a Youth Worker in Camberley. Follow her on Twitter at @snailsarah
Read: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
I think I actually screamed in frustration. I’d been in that position before. I knew the consequences. I knew I shouldn’t do it. I knew it would just lead to hurt on all sides. I didn’t even like myself when I did it. And still, and still, here I was again.
I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. The bad decisions that hurt God, that hurt those around me, that hurt me. After each one, in remorse, I vow to never repeat the action, and then, not long after, I find myself right back where I started again.
With those temptations, sins and the behaviours we just wish we would stop doing, it’s easy to reach a point of despair. We just don’t seem strong enough to fight the battle. We fall short of God. We know we’re not good enough to be in his presence.
We should probably just give up on the whole faith thing right?
This is the hope of the gospel.
You are not alone.
You are not trapped.
The game is not won by your strength.
There is one who both understands what it is to be tempted by the things that lead you away from God and who alone has the power to help you out of these messes.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. – Hebrews 4:14-15
Because he was human, Jesus knew what it was to face temptation. We don’t know all of the temptation that was thrown at Jesus, but we know some of it from Luke 4. The temptation to be selfish, to use his power for his own good, to chase human praise and recognisiotn, to test God. In our lowest moments, where we’re fighting the urge to do things that are wrong, Jesus walks by our side, he’s been there too.
And yet, he endured, sinless.
Because he is God, he managed to stand strong against temptation. So not only does he understand completely our struggle, but because he stood firm, he can be our righteousness in our weakness. He stands sinless in our place, leading us to God, who gives us the grace and strength we need to learn how to fight temptation just as Jesus did.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
When we face temptation, weakness, the worst of ourselves, the bits we wish we didn’t have, Jesus is our High Priest. He stands with us, fully human, understanding our struggle. And he stands with God, fully God, giving us the power to live differently.
We can both know that we are loved when we are weak, and that God gives us the power to break our cycles of sin.
That’s good news to me.
What are the things you find yourself doing again and again even though you wish you could stop?
Why not chat to Jesus about it?
Jesus, we are so sorry that so often we turn away from you and go our own way – even when we know we shouldn’t. Thank you Jesus that you understand totally the struggles we face. You know what it is to be human. And thank you that with you we can find the power to stand up to our temptations and make different choices. Please give us the mercy and grace to help us make different choices today and every day. Amen