Hebrews 12:3-4 (ESV)
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Do you ever feel like the sin you are struggling with is too great to overcome? Or do you ever feel pushed so hard by life and the circumstances that you are experiencing that being a disciple of Jesus is just too difficult and that making the daily decision to lay down your own desires and striving to be holy like Jesus seeking to emulate His example of love and service for others is just more than you can handle?
Well suck it up because you aren’t dead or bleeding, yet!
Sometimes we need a message that hits us like a brick to get us out of our despair and self-pity and I feel like today’s verses do just that. The life of the disciple is to love and serve others. This was the example that Jesus gave us. I think I sometimes forget that Jesus was rejected, ridiculed, misunderstood, maligned, beaten, and eventually killed because of His radical message of self-denial and sacrificial way of living. I also often forget that Jesus was submissive to the Father and that Jesus’ directives were not from His own desires but from the desires the Father gave Him. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father and ask that the Father’s will be done and isn’t that really the point. God the Father created us and this universe and everyone we share this planet with. The Father is telling us to lay down our own desires and tend to the burdens of others. It is all most a guarantee that in doing this there will be pain. The self doesn’t die easily and without a fight, yet it will die.
So what do you do when you are in despair and following Jesus seems hard? I think there are many answers to that question, but I think for me I am just going to remind myself that no matter what happens, unless I am bleeding or dying it isn’t that bad and that Jesus in human form suffered much worse for me. I need to try and honor that suffering by doing a better job of submitting to the Father and emulating my Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank you God for new mornings and fresh opportunities to love and serve your creation and the ones you created. Forgive me where I have made this life all about me, how I feel, and less about your will and the sacrifice of Jesus. You made us for your glory and you gave us an example in Jesus of how to live sacrificially for others. You even gave us your Spirit to empower us to live the life we naturally cannot live. Help us and guide us today. We offer you praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.