By Mary Southerland
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since He had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned. So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need (Hebrews 4:15-16, TLB).
Friend to Friend
I learn a lot from our grandchildren. When our grandson Justus was five years old, he came up with what I thought was an ingenious plan for disobedience. Our daughter called one day, laughing. “Mom, I have to tell you what your grandson just said.”
Now when Danna refers to Justus as “your grandson” it generally means he has done something wrong – an extremely rare occurrence as far as I can tell.
Danna said, “I told Justus it was time to put away his toys and get ready for his nap. He stopped what he was doing, and I could tell he was seriously thinking about what I had asked him to do. Then his eyes sparkled, and he let out a huge sigh. It was obvious he had made a decision. Justus then smiled sweetly and said, ‘No tank you, Mama. Maybe tomowow!”
I often do the same thing when God asks me to do something. I want to obey Him. But right now, it is inconvenient, and I just don’t want to do it. Maybe tomorrow I will.
Did Jesus question God or wonder why He had agreed to such a ridiculous plan? Seriously. Giving up heaven for earth – a throne for a manger? To live among frail humanity bent on self-destruction. To suffer and die for people who hated Him, tortured and betrayed Him, and thought He was nothing more than a fraud?
Did Jesus find it hard to obey God?
If I am brutally honest, I tend to think the obedience of Jesus came a lot easier to Him than it does to me. After all, He was fully God and fully man – an enigma my skeptical mind and doubting heart simply can’t comprehend.
That is when I play the God card. Really. How hard could it have been for Jesus to obey God? How could He give into temptation? He was God.
But He was also man.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8, NIV).
God did not give Jesus the power to obey because He was His Son. Jesus chose obedience in the same way we must choose obedience – through simply asking for strength to make the right choices and through repentance when we make the wrong choices.
Jesus found the strength to obey God through a holy and radical submission to God. The word “learned” indicates a continual choice and the ongoing process of falling down, learning the lesson each failure holds and getting back up again – determined to make the right choice. And we must do the same, knowing and willingly accepting the fact that surrender is costly, at times painful, life-changing – and worth it all.
God’s truth is for today – not tomorrow.
Think about it
Mary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!