“Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession. For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
The enemy likes to tell us lies like, “You’re all alone in your struggle.” “You’re worse than anyone else.” “You can’t go to God now, you messed up too big this time.” He tries to isolate us, so that we will not be able to receive God’s grace and mercy. When I think about how the enemy tries to make me feel, I picture this dog we had growing up. When he knew that he had done something wrong, he would come hesitant and downcast, expecting to be disciplined harshly. I feel sorry for him in his humble presentation of guilt; looking back I wonder why the dog was afraid. To often that is also how we approach our Heavenly father after we mess up, with fear in our eyes for the punishment we anticipate. How it must break His heart to see us come to Him in so much fear.
Instead God meets us with mercy and grace. We may receive correction, but Jesus already took our punishment on the cross. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus already overcame death at the cross.
What really stuck out to me is “that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.” I definitely need God’s grace and mercy after I have sinned and I need to come to Him to confess my sins and receive forgiveness. From this passage, I think our example in Christ is to go to the throne of God with confidence in the midst of our temptation. Luke 4 tells us that Jesus was already in prayer and fasting as temptation came. In the prayer and fasting, He received the help He needed to overcome the temptation from Satan.
There is also a lack of insight into Jesus’ quiet time with God during ministry. We get the picture that He goes away to pray often and regularly, but except in Gethsemane we don’t really see what transpires in those times. I typically think of Jesus as the Son of God, which He is. It helps me explain away the ease with which He could not sin. However, Jesus was also the son of man. As man, we are tempted more than just forty days in our life. It is possible, that since Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, that he was tempted outside the 40 day time period before He started His public ministry. So it is possible, that He was going to the throne with confidence because He needed to receive the same help we do in time of need.
I would love if temptation only came for forty days, and the after we could begin our ministry for God without further temptation. It doesn’t happen that way (An please, if I have just missed the mark and it worked that way for you, please talk to me, I want that discipleship.). Temptations come up often, and new ones come just when I thing God has given me the ability to withstand a temptation. Why do we think it would be any different for Jesus, the son of man?
Jesus overcame temptation through the Word of God, in prayer and fasting. We must do the same. We can with confidence go to the throne of God. I don’t need to cower down in fear. I can come to Him with my need. He wants to meet it. His Spirit within me will empower me, just as He empowered Jesus. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, He intercedes for us, and He knows the temptation we face. He wants to meet us with grace and mercy and to help us in our time of need.
Prayer – Holy Spirit quicken my spirit to immediately approach with confidence the throne of God, if I am not already abiding there, to seek God’s mercy and grace and help when I am facing temptation. Let me go when the need arises to get help, so I won’t need to go after for repentance. Thank you for empowering Jesus to live sinless, and keep me every aware that the same Spirit, Your Spirit, that was with Him is also in me. You can and will empower me to overcome temptation!