Tempted to bail out?

Readings  Hebrews 2– 4

Are these guys trying to tempt us?   The first three do not look so excited about their food, but the others are making a good pitch!

Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)
18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Dear discouraged,

What were you tempted by today?

There were boxes full of ice cream bars at work today.  More than enough to go around and around.

Yes, I did eat one, okay, two.

Hardly the temptation that faces most of us and troubles us the most, and not likely what the writer of Hebrews was talking about in the verse above.

(Although if you do eat a steady diet of ice cream bars daily, you may face dire consequences.)

The temptation that he is talking about, is more on the line of giving up for the easier way.  When things get tough, you bail out, choosing for the more comfortable, the way to relieve stress, the way to receive what is “rightfully yours”, to satisfy your “true need”.

It is talking about, ending a marriage because you are not being treated how you deserve (not talking about abuse here).  The marriage is not what you expected, and you are being taken for granted.  Your spouse is mishandling money, time, …….   They are self focused.

Maybe it is talking about being overlooked at work, and the undeserving gets the job.  You get a chance to undermine someone to get the position you deserve.

What about the one that gets all the credit for the idea or the work you did?  Tempted to step in and satisfy your pride?

How about that man or woman that is making passes at you?  Finally, someone recognizes you for who you really are!

Maybe it is those pictures that you fantasize over?  That is how it really should be!

Possibly it is not the ice cream bars, but it is something else that you turn to, to bring comfort.

Then there could be that “tax break” that would make things so much better.

Or is it when someone is putting down your faith, you choose to remain silent, and in your silence deny your God.

Maybe, you are to lose your job, or you will be thrown in jail, or even beaten.  Will you still claim Him as your Lord?

We read in Matthew how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, when He was hungry and tired.  Yet Jesus withstood the temptation, and remained on course, being obedient to the Father, and enduring till His work was done on the cross, and rose again, and is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, now praying for you.

Yes, Jesus endured opposition from sinful men so that you and I could also endure temptation, so we could truly taste what God has for us.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Are you struggling today?   Do you feel that you are not getting what you deserve?  If you are truthful about what you deserve, it is death, condemnation, eternal separation from God.

John 3:18 (NIV)
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Yet Jesus resisted temptation, the full extent of temptation.  (We usually give in well before the fullness of it.)  Jesus bore our sin on the cross, so that we might experience His life, having reconciled us to Himself, and then providing His life for us, if we only receive Him.

If you look at life being a way for us to receive all the blessings of God now, rather than our lives being the way for God’s name to be fully revealed to others, then we will be greatly distressed.

I pray that each of us would see that God wants to reveal Himself through us in the worst of circumstances.  It is in our weakness that His strength is made perfect, that His power is seen, that Jesus can be in view.

It is in the losses in this life that God’s purposes can be accomplished.  In our “winnings”, He tends to be left out.

Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  God is going to complete that which He began in you.  Let Him finish that work.  The One that cares for the sparrow, cares far more for you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Fix your eyes on Him, Jesus the author and finisher of your faith.  His beauty will overtake the ugliness of the world, and the “beauty” of it’s temptations.

Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence today, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.

Looking to Jesus,

Steve

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