Finding Help in Times of Temptation
Read Hebrews 4:1-16
“We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
In Hebrews 4, the writer encourages us to obtain the rest God promises. This rest refers to the freedom from the struggle of sin and its consequences. It also speaks of the joy of a close relationship with God, which brings security and safety through our obedience to him. Although Israel was given the promise of rest, they never attained it because of their sin (vs. 2, 6). Thus, the writer challenges us to remain steadfast in our obedience to the Word of God (vs. 11-12) so that we might enter the rest that God promises. The greatest tragedy is that people fail to fully experience the enjoyment of God’s salvation because they disobey God’s word.
The failure of Israel reminds us of our struggle with temptation. When we succumb to the appeal of sin, we no longer enjoy God’s blessing and peace. Sin always brings destructive consequences. It destroys relationships, undermines peace, wreaks havoc upon our lives, and damages our relationship with God. To keep from falling into its clutches, the writer points to two critical aids available to us. The first is scripture (vs. 12-13). The Bible does more than teach us about God; it is a dynamic force working in our life to penetrate the inmost crevasses of our hearts to reveal sinful thoughts and motives. It brings to light the attitudes and desires lurking within us, making us susceptible to sin’s appeal.
The second aid comes from Christ himself. When Christ became man, he experienced all the struggles we face in life, the struggles with adversity and trials, and the struggle with temptation itself. But contrary to our weakness, Christ did so without sin. He bore the full brunt of temptation’s appeal but resisted to the end. Because he experienced all the struggles we face, he now fully sympathizes with our weaknesses. Because he endured, he also knows the way of escape when temptation strikes.
Because he is our sympathetic high priest, we can now go to him in times when we are teetering on the end of temptation. When we struggle with sin and temptation, we can still draw near the throne of grace to receive mercy and forgiveness. Because Christ knows the power of temptation, he is ready and willing to offer his grace when we fail. What a promise and hope that is! But more than that, Christ provides assistance when we need it most when we are weakest and unable to resist in our strength. During this time, he is available to us, coming alongside and giving us what we need to stand firm in him. We do not face our struggles alone; Christ is available to help; all we have to do is ask.
To have victory over our struggles with sin, we need to remain in the scriptures and seek Christ’s help. The reason we fall into its clutches is not that we are helpless against temptation, for indeed we are. It stems from our failure to utilize the two most important resources available to us: The Bible and prayer. If you find yourself struggling to experience the rest God promises and resist temptation, spend time in the Bible, allow it to work in your mind and soul to bring a change of heart. Then spend time in prayer and asking Christ to give you the strength you are lacking. Then you will have victory.