“The only complete realist”

Read today in church:

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

– Hebrews 2:14-18 (ESV)

When I think of the Lord’s suffering, it’s common for me to concentrate on the last day of his life. This is what we call his Passion, when Christ endured the excruciating pain of torture, mockery, and execution for our sakes and for God’s glory.

I often forget that Christ’s entire life was part of his Passion. As the writer of Hebrews recounts above, Christ “suffered when tempted”, the only man who has ever resisted fully and completely the temptations common to us all.

C.S. Lewis has a great quote on this (and is there any quote from old Jack that isn’t great?); this was also shared from the pulpit today.

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness – they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means – the only complete realist.”

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In contrast to this, I had a very weak day. Emotionally on edge, for reasons I’m not exactly sure of, I lashed out more than once today at those closest to me. I did a poor job of resisting the temptation to give into what my flesh was telling me to say. I’ve asked for and have received forgiveness, but the regret lives on.

Thank God that every new day is truly a “new day” when you’re in Christ. I’m going to bed tonight hoping to do better tomorrow, trusting in my great High Priest to continue molding me into the man he wants me to be.

5 thoughts on ““The only complete realist”

  1. Bill: Praying for you and those you love dearly, I reminded once again once thru the blood and many times thru the fire. And one day to be as pure as gold what a day that will be. Keeping pressing forward to the high calling and the prize that awaits those who endure till the end.

  2. Careful Baby Bloo…

    Doug Hagler said…

    That was just shy of another personal attack, so I’ll let things stand.

    Also, this has nothing whatsoever to do with free speech. This is my blog. Speech here is not free. You have to earn it by being respectful and by backing up what you say. I don’t care if you disagree with me – disagreement is *your* problem, not mine. I think disagreement means we’re all healthy and thinking. You’re the one who can’t tolerate it, and have to label it with some nasty theological word so you can avoid dealing with it meaningfully. I do care if you make unsupported attacks against my faith and character. And as I’ve said before, if I fall into that, call me out heartily and loud, because I’ll need to hear it.

    (As a side note libel and slander are not protected speech whether they occur on my blog or not.)

    Persuant to that, I’ve got some posts in mind. I’ve realized I need to show my work. I’m going to talk about why I (and millions of others) don’t think the Bible speaks clearly against homosexuality, and why I find support for my position in the Bible, the same way we find support for ordaining women or interracial marriage in the Bible. I’ll be stealing work there, but oh well. I’m not a scholar.

    I’ll also be talking about exactly what you keep bringing up – your (I think) unfortunate characterization of this conflict as a battle. I think Ernest Becker has a lot to say on why you feel that way, why it’s a very common human reaction to challenges to one’s ideas, and why that kind of “battle” language is dangerous to throw around.

    So, anyway, coming soon to a blog near you.

    10:38 PM

    sounds like a sure orange-smoke plan to sharpen the axe that WILL be used against u… and you say the circle is widening… like Jesus was blindfolded… so He wouldn’t know where the next strike was comming from

    sorry couldn’t HT: Greg but I guess you should

    I’ll HT: God for answering “Please Jesus protect him from himself”

  3. To whoever wrote the previous comment.

    Who are you and what are you referring to? Please let me know – I don’t know what you’re talking about. Thanks!

  4. Hey there. As far as I can tell, that is some kind of spammer that has also been posting weird things to my blog. I’d say feel free to delete it – the poster never responds to questions, and I suspect its some kid of bot.

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