The Moment Between Offense and Sin

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8

I wonder if I’ve been realistic when I’ve thought about Jesus’ perfection. I’ve always viewed Jesus as an adult in ministry. He was One who certainly had instant access to righteous thoughts and behaviors. He listened expectantly to His Father and never struggled with what He was asked to do. But how do I connect that picture with the scripture that says Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted? The two concepts are both true but to marry, there needs to be an adjustment.

ar-303129984There is a pregnant moment between an offense and a sinful response – whether a thought or a behavior. The offense happens, then comes the temptation, and then comes the pregnant moment of decision when the heart decides how it will respond. To ‘learn obedience’ is to learn how to handle the pregnant moments within that temptation time period. That’s where Jesus achieved victory. That’s where my victory lies.

Think of Jesus as a child and let’s consider a few pregnant moments.

  • He’s a toddler. He’s happily playing with a new wooden toy Joseph carved for him. A sibling or a friend takes it away from him. Mary encourages Jesus to share it. If Jesus were tempted as we are tempted, there is a pregnant moment where Jesus is encouraged by Satan (not His own nature – since He is holy) to hoard it, not share it. He’s like me. Temptation says, “The toy is mine. My father made it for me.” But Jesus chooses to share.
  • Jesus is outside playing with his friends and is having a good time. Mary yells from down the street that it’s time to come and help His father with the chores. There is a pregnant moment where He is tempted to ignore His mother’s voice. He’s having too much fun. But Jesus chooses to obey.
  • Jesus is a teenager and sees a group of friends plotting to cheat. He speaks up to expose their sin. They turn on Him and He is beaten up and bruised badly. There is a pregnant moment where He is tempted to disown their friendship and find a way to get revenge. Anger is hot and His body is sore from their beatings. Jesus moves through the temptation successfully and chooses a righteous reaction.

None of this was easy for Jesus. None of these pregnant moments are easy for me. As I think of Him in the throes of temptation, having to learn obedience, I am very aware that Jesus is my refuge when my temptations are too great and I fear that I will choose to sin. He knows. He is the perfect confidant. He is the One who lives to pray for me day and night – that I will learn obedience. He, from the inside of me, gives moment-by-moment grace to move successfully through the temptation phase to victory.

Open my eyes to Your struggle with Your humanity. You are a refuge for a soul in distress today. Amen

A Year With Jesus

 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.  John 21:25
There is so much more to be learned about Jesus.  Let me be clear though.  The Bible is complete and no more can ever be added to it.  Yet, God is still the revealer of mysteries within the multi-dimensional layers of His Word.  There is much the Holy Spirit desires to unveil about Jesus.  There are spellbinding discoveries and the King of glory will be on full display.  In 2017, I will embark on a year of study and meditation on the life of Jesus.  Each day’s devotional will capture a moment in time.
dark-lettersWhat if there were a new book released entitled, ‘One Thousand New Discoveries on the Person of Jesus?’  It would be a worldwide best seller.  But for what reason would it fly off the shelves?  I’m convinced that many unbelievers would buy it for pure historic value.  Jesus is the most influential person ever to have lived.  But many believers would purchase it so that they could learn interesting tidbits to share at their next Bible Study.  Sadly, they comprise the disciples who thrive at being reporters.
The notoriety of Jesus made me think about famous people who suffer from loneliness.  They struggle to know whom they can trust.  Many so-called friends who seem genuinely interested in them end up betraying them.  These faux friends draw close, invade their privacy, and then boast to their own circle of friends about what they learned.  They feast on the failures of the famous person and the disclosures that were made in private make these traitors feel significant.  They just can’t wait to whisper these secrets to others.  For those in the limelight, it’s very difficult to discern the motives of all who profess love and loyalty.
Jesus was, and is, famous.  Oh, that all Bible Study would be for the purpose of loving Him more, not reporting for self-interest.  Jesus waits for true seekers who want to draw close.  He waits to participate in the journey of anyone who desires to know Him better.  He waits to open blind eyes to His glory.  He waits to unveil spiritual food where it’s least expected.  At the beginning of this New Year, He is fully engaged.  He’s waiting and eager to speak, confirm, nudge, convict, embrace, and breathe His very life into every life-changing discovery ahead of us.
Are you on the edge of Your seat, Jesus?  I am.  Amen