For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with us in our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all these things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Satan is well aware of those windows of opportunity by which we are most vulnerable to the reaching of his grip.
A few months ago, in what appeared to be a stable season of my life, I found myself in battle. For one day, I felt a force threatening to keep my mind, body, and soul from grasping onto hope. It was the peak of a descent into a darkness of which I had never before experienced. I literally felt a heaviness that kept pressing down on me; making the transition from laying in my bed to standing up nearly impossible. Yet, in the midst, I pulled out my armor and fought.
The point of evil’s intrusion occurred as I was struggling with an unexpected mood change. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a several years. Not surprisingly, the seasons of stability have given way here and there to brief phases of losing my footing. Those moments challenged me but I always found the ability to arise and keep walking forward.
I refused to let Satan draw me back from finding the place where God was leading me. I recognized the tactics of discouragement, unrestrained anger and hopelessness. (Read about another battle here: http://stephaniejthompson.com/2016/08/31/if-god-can-raise-a-man-from-the-dead-why-cant-he-keep-my-crockpot-from-falling-2/)
When I found my spirit listening to voices which beckoned to surrender hope, I cried out to Jesus to help me claim victory over them.
Struggles of the mind and body are not indications of a weak faith or losing “favor” with God. They are consequences of the broken realities of the world in which we reside. This place points to the complete restoration which is possible in our Heavenly home but may not be experienced in it’s complete form here.
However, we are offered wholeness in our spirit through the grace of Jesus. He not only triumphed over the power but wrestled with it himself. Until the end of his life.
“…yet without sin.”
What is the significance of these three small words in reference to the act of being a high priest?
Being a high priest brought with it a significant amount of responsibility. He acted as God’s representative to proclaim that the offering for sin had been redeemed. Reconciliation to God had been achieved.
These individuals were specifically chosen based on character and knowledge of the Jewish law. But, their humanity still existed. Very possibly, they had committed the same sins as those who came to them seeking forgiveness.
Only Jesus could wear the title of “high priest” and yet also become the offering at the same time. By doing so, he removed the “curtain” that separated the humanly appointed righteous from the humanly designated unrighteous.
In addition, his humanity left him vulnerable to the temptations of the flesh.
But did he really experience the same temptations as we do? We could spend hours analyzing his life; searching for specific examples of weaknesses of the flesh.
Does it matter?
Jesus experienced the suffering that accompanies our spirit and possibly our minds and bodies when evil powers try to lure us away from where God has placed us.
For each of us, those temptations make look different. The consequences of refusing to follow those voices may result in remaining in a place of discomfort. Or they may not.
Regardless, we look to Jesus’ strategy in keeping his feet planted: calling out to his Father.
We share the same one.
He relied on God’s word to root him when his feet were tempted to move. And it’s no different for us.
Fortunately, our high priest will always be advocating for us. He liberated us from evil and knows of its force firsthand. Furthermore, he has assumed his position as king.
“Therefore, LET US draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”
Charles Spurgeon writes, “It is a throne of grace where no ordinary monarch presides, but where one is sitting who is infinite and
all sufficient, one who can bestow upon us more than we ask, or ever think of asking, and yet not
impoverish Himself in the slightest degree! Always remember, beloved, in coming to the mercy seat,
that you are coming to a King and to one who gives like a King! Always open your mouth wide and ask
great things of the King who is so ready to bestow them upon you!”
(This post was written a few years ago. It’s amazing to look back and see that God’s hand was indeed at work through that season.)
It’s been a season of waiting. I’m accustomed to living simply but it seems that any source of Earthly comfort is being taken away. Medical concerns have drained us financially and emotionally. Not gonna lie. It’s hard.
As the feelings of despair and worry began to grow, the oven broke. Oh, yes it did. I preheated the oven for dinner and as I opened the door, I felt no heat greeting me. Are you kidding me? My panic began but stopped when I remembered my husband’s handyman gifts and ability to fix most things. My mind focused on him coming home. Of course, I look forward to seeing him but this was urgent!
Scott can fix it. Scott can fix it.
Except he couldn’t. It meant ordering a part that would take a week to come in. Well, then.
What do we do now? Eat out? Nope. Well…..we have a microwave and a Crockpot.
Hmm. quick flashback. I remember those early days of adulthood. Living by myself and filling my stomach with microwave meals or soup mix made with boiling water. The “make-do” lifestyle of a college student and or early twenty-something seemed OK at the time. But now, married and three kids later, not so much. The novelty and the humor of it has worn off.
Ironically the annual church soup supper was coming up in a few days so I had planned on making corn chowder in the Crockpot. I decided to make enough to have leftovers for meals for the coming week.
And then it happened.
In an attempt to carry things out to the car after the soup supper, the pot seemed to slip out of my hands. Glass shattered everywhere; including in the soup. Really?!.
Do you ever have a moment when you honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry?
And then it occurred to me…
If God can raise a man from the dead, why can’t He keep my Crockpot from falling? It’s a legitimate question. I realize, of course, that there are others in much more dire circumstances who plea for God’s interaction and rightly so. However, I also am aware that God knows what’s going on in my life. At this moment, it seems as if every comfort (not lavish) is being removed. And the stress of a sick child, the needs of the whole family, financial distress and worry make living bare bones a challenge.
Fast forward a few months:
I resolved to fight the spiritual battle that surrounds me (us) on a daily basis. With that in mind, I try to be conscious of keeping that as a priority in prayer as well as be discerning in the moments and routine of daily life. Last week (well, every week actually), that routine included running to the grocery store. Off I went.
Within minutes of arriving, I received a call from my daughter screaming in pain. My mind began racing: appendicitis? No more health problems! is what came to mind along with the urgent desire to relieve her pain.
Quickly, I headed home, drove in the driveway and proceeded to take the groceries out of the car. With my desire to fight away any attacks from evil, I declared “Satan you will not win!” and with that said, I found myself flat on the ground, face first, slipping on ice that was not apparent. I am not kidding. Thinking I broke my nose and knocked out my teeth, I left the groceries and tumbled in the house.
If God can raise a man from the dead, why couldn’t He keep my Crockpot (and me) from falling?
Reluctantly, I looked in the mirror and found my nose a bit bruised and my teeth intact. Could I have been kept from falling? I believe so. Could I have been hurt worse? I know so. I will claim an unseen victory.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.“ Ephesians 6:12
I may not always have control over my situations. I may even become frustrated and even angry over my circumstances. But hope is found in keeping my eyes on the One who knows everything about me and has promised to fight for me.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)
God, your Creator, the One who knows the number of hairs on your head, has your back. You have spiritual weapons at your ready. Refuse to go down the path of discouragement and hopelessness. That’s where Satan wants you. Fight! You Got This!