Points to Ponder: God Understands
Points to Ponder
The instructor jumps onto a stationary bike in front of the class, fast-paced music kicks in, and off we go. This is the typical "Spin" class I have been part of for the past six years. It's an aerobic work out using stationary cycles, pedaling through a routine of simulated hill climbs and flat-road wind sprints. This class has pushed me to improve my lung capacity; a tough challenge. I pace myself with the instructors. I hear their directions, but I follow their actions.
It's grueling as we work through numerous climbs, standing runs, and sprints for about 45 minutes. The results of this self-disciplined suffering far exceed the relatively brief time on the bike; although it doesn't seem that way at the time.
One class I'd taken became so popular that the instructor had to give up his bike to a class member and lead from the floor. I never liked that, because then he no longer was suffering with the rest of us. If I start wearing out, it helps to know he feels my pain. There is something to be said for the leader who suffers with the troops. He (or she) has been where you are. Thus, the good leader knows better than you how far you can go; even when you're ready to give up.
Perhaps you need this perspective on your current trial; for you it's been sort of a work out that will never end, grueling and painful. Does it help to know that God understands by personal experience?
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-15 NKJV).
So what does that do for you? Jesus is both fully God and has lived on earth, fully human. He was able to live a perfect life, never falling to the power and temptations of sin because his human self was under the full control of God's Spirit.
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9 NKJV)
We have Jesus Christ as the example of the holy life; a human being completely submitted to the authority and power of God can turn from sin and live unto God. It is not, of course, the goodness of humanity that makes that possible - for there is no goodness in the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9) nor in human nature (Romans 3:10-23). But God has made a way for you.
The end result of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and Christ as our great High Priest has offered the perfect sacrifice of Himself - the substitute who died in our place (Isaiah 53:4-12; Hebrews 9:12-14) - so that atonement has been made. What has stood between us and God has been taken out of the way. God does understand your burdens, the painful memories, the consequences you bear today because of yesterday's choices; all these are before the Lord who knows where you've been and what has happened. And so the scripture assures you: in Jesus, God has experienced personally how tough life can be, and he is aware of those intense challenges that cause stumbling and those that invite even the believer to stray.
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).
There is help. There is grace. Why do we allow pride to convince us we can take it, that "I've got it under control"?
"Come boldly", He says. What boldness there must be in true humility. Have you ever thought of that?
It takes a determined, gutsy humility to bow before God and admit. "I can't do this." He already knows. He's just been waiting for you to finally recognize it yourself.
"Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15 NKJV).
We don't glorify God by how good we can be; we glorify God by letting Him make us into what, in our own power, we could never be. A lot of things are impossible for you, but all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). Pace yourself; hear His words, but follow His example (I Peter 2:19-25).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com