Sometimes, I just feel weak.
I find myself in a cycle of being tempted, and failing miserably at saying “no” to whatever I’m being tempted by. You know the cycle; where you give in to the enemy’s coax or maybe just your selfish desires; and after you fall for whatever it is, you find yourself buried deep beneath the boulders of guilt and shame, afraid you’ll never be able to get out from underneath it all. You don’t even want to pray about it because you feel like you’ve talked with the Lord about this particular thing way too many times. After processing a little more, you end up asking for forgiveness because you know that’s the best thing to do, but then you quickly fall back into the very same trap. Maybe it’s an addiction or some bad habit. Out of control spending, an unhealthy relationship with food or exercise, yelling at your spouse or kids, talking behind someone’s back, pornography, some kind of substance abuse, infidelity, working so much that you are putting your relationships in jeopardy, etc. Maybe it’s even something that looks good from the outside, but it’s pulling you away from God’s best for your life. Whatever it is, it is causing some kind of pain in your life and might even be causing pain in the lives of some people around you. I have found myself, many times, in places like this. As I’ve gone along, my temptations have changed. I have seen myself step out of the struggle with one thing and step right into the next one that comes along.
It is in those moments that I come face to face with my humanity and I am confronted with the realization that I am frail.
The Strong’s Concordance defines “frailty” as weakness, want of strength, illness, suffering, calamity. A help word for frailty is “astheneia” which refers to an ailment that deprives someone of enjoying or accomplishing what they would like to do. Do you ever feel like the temptations you give in to ever hold you back or deprive you of the things you would like to do? Do you ever feel like you have a “want of strength”? Is there a weakness of yours that is causing damage and suffering to yourself or others? Do you feel so incredibly desperate about this situation that you’re not even sure it will ever change? If so, I can certainly relate.
There is an encouraging verse that speaks beautifully to this “temptation cycle” that so many of us face on a regular basis:
Hebrews 4:14-16 TPT
Jesus, our compassionate King-Priest
“So then, we must cling in faith to all we know to be true. For we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose into the heavenly realm for us, and now sympathizes with us in our frailty. He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin. So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.”
The word “Sympathize” in the Hebrew language is “Sumpatheo” which means “to have a fellow feeling with” and “to have compassion on.” The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon definition describes “Sumpatheo” as “being affected with the same feeling as another.” In the Greek, the word is “Sumpascho” which means “to suffer with.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon in the Strong’s Concordance defines it as “to suffer or feel the pain together.” The Aramaic describes sympathy as “who has sorrow with us in our affliction.”
The realization of how Jesus sympathizes with me in my humanness and frailty has changed my perspective in regards to the guilt and shame I’ve carried because of the temptation traps I have given in to.
There is such comfort in knowing that Jesus identifies with me in the weaknesses I feel and the afflictions that I have suffered from making bad choices.
The fact that He has sorrow with me in it, has compassion on me, feels my pain and anguish, and is even affected with the same feelings I have as I go through the situation, makes me feel much less alone—despite the isolation I feel while I’m walking through it. When I think about the people in my life that have gone through similar circumstances that I have been in, there is such power that exists in them being able to say to me, “I completely understand, I’ve been there too.” To me, this verse highlights the fact that
Jesus can relate with me on a much deeper level than any person ever could because He is always right there with me.
There is so much power in that. He is in it with me. God has many names and one of them is “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us.” The fact that He is actually in the middle of the situation with me, gives me great hope that He will help me find my way out of it. I have confidence that although I’m in a difficult place, He doesn’t want me to stay there. I’m sure He doesn’t want to stay there with me either! The truth is that He is more than able to help me in those particularly weak and urgent moments that I so desperately need Him. He is also sympathetically and knowledgeably aware of my human nature. He understands my humanity. He was human too.
He grasps my situation with perfect understanding.
He knows why I do what I do. He sees the whole picture. Not that it excuses what I do, but He knows my entire history. He knows my entire life leading up to this point. He knows what led me to this place and He knows how to lead me out of it. Jesus sympathizes with us and grasps our situations with perfect understanding because He was human and He was tempted in every way just as we are tempted. The difference between Him and us is that instead of giving in to the sin, he conquered it. He took control of all of it.
He successfully overcame it.
That’s why He came! To conquer sin and overcome it for us so we wouldn’t have to do it on our own. He paid the price, so we wouldn’t have to stay buried beneath the boulders of our guilt and shame. He paid the price so we could come freely and boldly to where His love is enthroned, and receive the mercy we so desperately need, during the times that we urgently need it so we can be strengthened in our times of weakness! Do you need strength today? Go freely and boldly to Him. Don’t let yourself stay buried beneath the boulders of guilt and shame. Receive the mercy you so desperately need. He knows your story. He sympathizes with you, He’s with you in it, and He grasps your situation with perfect understanding. Ask Him for the strength that you need to overcome all of this. Let Him know that you can’t do it on your own and that you need His help.
He knows what led you to this place, and He knows how to lead you out of it.