One of the shortest words in the English dictionary, yet the one that arguably holds the biggest opportunity for excuse!
It’s so easy to look at someone and think… “Well, if I had their money then it would be easy to be generous,” …”If I had their confidence it would be easy to preach”. Do we look at the life of Jesus and think …”well, if I was Jesus, Son of God, it would be easier to live a Godly life, because… Well.. I’d be Jesus!”
Whilst Jesus has the wonderful title of the Son of God, he was also physically born of his mother Mary, raised on earth and had to navigate his way through life just as we do. We can take so much comfort in the human emotions and struggles he had that we read about in the bible...
In his time on the earth, we are told that Jesus felt tiredness (John 4v6), hunger (Mark 11v12), anger and frustration (Matt 21v12-13), faced temptations (Matt 4), was overwhelmed by large crowds (Luke 5v15-16), and experienced grief following the loss of a dear friend (John 11).
Heb 4v15: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses; but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (ESV)
The question is, when I am feeling all these emotions in my life, do I respond to these challenges in the same way that Jesus did in his time on earth?
When Jesus was faced by temptation in the wilderness, he responded with memorised passages from Scripture. Can I call on verses to encourage me in the face of temptation?
When he’d spent long hours preaching to large demanding crowds who wanted to learn about God, he had the boundaries to politely dismiss them and went into the mountains to pray to God. Do I do that? Or when I’m feeling tired, do I distract myself with something menial to relax and switch off.. followed by sleep?
Jesus walked everywhere he went just like others of his time, side by side with his disciples. He had the power to arrive anywhere at any time, but not once did he use the Holy Spirit to advance himself. We do not read of him feeling sorry for himself, only using any and every opportunity to teach people about God.
John 4v6-7: “...so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water...” (ESV)
Stopping to rest from his long journey, resulted in the opportunity to preach to the woman of Samaria and consequently brought about the conversion of many other Samaritans in her town.
So, no matter what situation or difficulties we find ourselves in, let us take comfort in Jesus’ understanding of our nature and keep our eyes wide open to opportunities around us to tell people about God...
James 1v2: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have it’s full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (ESV)