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 Post Post subject: Devotions - Monday, November 12th, 2007
Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:40 am 
Catspaw knows all

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Bible Reading: Hebrews 5

Good morning my friends, my fellow sojourners;

There are many things that stand out for me from this little chapter of Hebrews; I would like all day to mediate upon them. The first is the relationship between the High Priest and the people:

“He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2)

Although I am no high priest this speaks a great deal to me. We should never find ourselves in a place of judgement or even a place of lack of patience with others because we too are subject to these same weaknesses. If not for the grace of God we would not be able to resist any more than they the many temptations of our day. There have been a number of times that we or someone we have known have been dogmatic about a specific action or attitude. A while later, with a change of circumstance, that very same dogmatic person is doing that for which they criticized other people. Because we too are subject to weakness we should be able to find the grace to love and accept everyone, regardless of their faults; we should be able to deal with them gently.

Another thing that stood out was the lack of spiritual growth and the frustration of the author over this lack. Note his description of the mature:

“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)

Notice the reference to experience here. Not all believers have great maturity and discernment from the beginning. It is as we test our spiritual legs; as we put the truths of the Word into practical living; as we learn what it is to live by faith and not by sight that we develop spiritual muscle. It takes some time and it takes living. Everyone has heard the analogy of a Christian’s life being formed in a similar way to a diamond, under the great pressures and testings of life.

This brings us to what really stood out for me from this passage and is related to the previous point. It lends itself to what is becoming my anthem in the face of a Church seeking after self-pleasures and ease of living, who believe in entitlement without cost:

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:8-10)

I quoted the whole sentence so you had no doubt of the spiritual process that is being described here. Look at this, “he learned obedience from what he suffered”. Jesus Christ had to learn how to obey in the weakness and sufferings of our physical and spiritual form. I can’t emphasize this enough. Temptation is not an easy thing; we suffer under it. It is so hard that we require the power of God to overcome it and yet it still requires our suffering to overcome. The garden is only one example of how much effort it took Jesus to keep true to the path set before him.

Sometimes we make this mistake of thinking suffering to be only from an illness or the circumstances of life. These are part of the suffering we must face. We must face that which would distract us; that which calls us to sinful pleasures; that which would occupy our time; that which is filled with “puffing up”; that which excuses our hurtful feelings and our anger; that which justifies our evil thoughts and intentions. We must suffer in these things to be refined by fire. The glorious truth is that the Father has promised us that such refining moments do not need to destroy us as they did not destroy Jesus Christ but instead taught him obedience:

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

What encouraging words, “so that you can stand up under it”. So many people run away yet the Father wants us to learn obedience in the face of what would destroy us. Wow! This seems to be a spiritual truth embraced by the early Church and yet lost on us today. Can we emulate the example of Jesus? Can we learn from these things and gain a greater maturity? Can we suffer under it and yet maintain our purpose, goal and joy? Heed these words of James:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Do not run away. Take your stand in the face of that temptation. Stare it down. God is doing more in that moment than you may realize at that moment. Trust him. Trust his promises. Go all the way! It doesn’t count if you give up in the end. Fight! Fight for every inch of ground in your life. Fight like a warrior and never let the word “quit” touch your lips or, for that matter, your heart. Fight!

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