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.