It can be strangely encouraging to hear that our problems are nothing new, and that our weaknesses are not unique. Conversely, it can be quite discouraging to think that we are the only one to experience a specific trial or sorrow. Fortunately, Scripture is replete with examples of humans struggling in every conceivable way – e.g., pain, temptation, suffering, grief, failure, betrayal, loneliness, etc. We can know, generally speaking, that we are never the only one to feel or experience anything. As we read God’s Word, we find that the curse of sin is universal (see Rom.3:23; 5:12) – it affects everyone and everything. No one escapes this world unscathed. No one skates through this world without struggle. No one lives without weakness or failure.
This is good news for those of us who struggle through this life, especially for those who struggle to live the Christian life. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not alone – we are not the only one who struggles to pray, we are not the only one who struggles to be selfless, we are not the only one who struggles to be disciplined, we are not the only one who struggles to resist temptation, we are not the only who struggles to be mature, we are not the only one who struggles to be faithful to God’s will, we are not the only one who struggles to be obedient to God’s Word. In the book of James, we are reminded that “we all stumble in many ways” (Jms.3:2).
Jesus Christ is the only one who has ever, or will ever, live a perfectly faithful and sinless life (see 2Cor.5:21; 1Pet.2:22; 1Jn.3:5). And yet, He was not immune to the very real trials of temptation and suffering. Isaiah prophetically described Jesus as being “despised and rejected … a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is.53:3). Scripture teaches us that Jesus “himself suffered when tempted” (Heb.2:17), and is therefore able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb.4:15).
This does not give us permission to sin or stop pursuing Christlikeness. Rather, it is a reminder of our ultimate and absolute dependence on Christ. Christ alone did what we could not do, and Christ alone can help us to live as we should live. Jesus said plainly, “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me … apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn.15:4-5).
God has not left us to fend for ourselves. We are not alone. As Christians, God has promised that He will never leave nor forsake us (Heb.13:5) and promised to be with us always (Matt.28:20). We are exhorted to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb.4:16). We are encouraged with the fact that because Jesus “Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb.2:17). This dependence on Christ is what led the apostle Paul to declare: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor.12:9-10).
Christians, be encouraged! Your weaknesses and struggles are nothing new, and they are certainly not beyond God’s ability to fortify and sanctify. More importantly, your sin is not beyond God’s ability to redeem (see Rom.5:20; 1Jn.1:9). God knows you need Him. You must realize that too.
Together in and for Christ,
Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #31):
Leviticus 22-24; 2 Kings 21-25; Psalm 90-92; Proverbs 14-15; Ezekiel 43-48; John 1-2; 1 Thess. 4-5
“All Things for Good” by Thomas Watson
It would be very benefical if the church had a weekly news letter like we use to. There are many seniors and shut ins who are unable to attend services or meetings. Some of us have little or no contact with anyone at church. No visits or phone calls. PRAY FOR US