June 22, 2020

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 

 

I (Nate) have spent much of my adult life wrestling with anxiety and depression. One of the most frustrating aspects of my struggle is that it’s illogical and unpredictable. I can’t always tell when it will strike, how long it will last, or how deep down the rabbit hole I will go. What I do know is the feeling of powerlessness and fatigue that accompanies the battle. I see the ones I love caught in the crossfire as I end up being distant, disengaged, or short tempered. 

What weakness do you regularly experience? Perhaps it’s greed—causing you to work long hours and neglect relationships. Perhaps it’s envy—spending hours on social media wishing your life was like the Instagram photos you see. Maybe you procrastinate or judge or get angry. Maybe, like me, you feel powerless to change. Now, for a moment, picture Jesus in that same emotional space. See him getting frustrated with his disciples. See him tired of the itinerant life—always on the move. See him exhausted from the relentless crowds and their requests. Whatever weakness you struggle with, imagine Jesus feeling that exact same way. Not a purified, holy version of your feelings, but the actual feeling itself. Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are.

Does that thought bring you comfort? It should, because it tells us three things. First, our propensity towards weakness and temptation are not sinful. We can be tempted and weak without sinning. Imagine the next step Jesus would take after feeling the depths of your weakness. That next step is the difference between sinning and not sinning. If you are filled with envy at the sight of your neighbor’s possessions, what do you do next? Jesus would turn his heart towards thankfulness for what he has and joy for his neighbor. Imagine what Jesus does after lustful thoughts come knocking. As Sung said in his sermon a couple of weeks ago—your feelings are merely the starting line. Comfort #1 is this: Your weakness is not sin.

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