Weakened? Forgotten? Seeking to move on from a personal fumble? Exhausted with life, people, barriers and breakdowns? I have earned a Masters Degree in those areas. More than once in my life, I have needed the help of God in my season of spiritual suffocation.
“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16
How do you handle weakness and failure? Most of us have times when we are reluctant to approach God because we are uncomfortably aware that we have nothing to offer Him. Seasons of struggle, sickness, slackness and strife serve to demotivate an enthusiastic approach to Heaven’s throne room. We much prefer to meet with God when the vigor of faith pulses through our spiritual veins to the rhythm of “No Longer Slaves”. What a dilemma it is for Christians when we fail to make up their minds to seek God personally and daily no matter what condition they sense within their hearts.
You don’t have to be strong in order to meet with your Lord. You just need to be saved to have an audience with the Almighty.
Did you notice above that the writer of Hebrews wants you to know that Jesus Christ sympathizes with your state of weakness? He’s no petulant tyrant, frustrated that you’ve come to Him again with less-than-stellar credentials. The heart of the Savior is touched with the feeling of your infirmity, and He is drawn to your frailties. If we presumed to come to Him in strength we would need to answer the issue of just what amount of our strength obligates Him to visit with us. If we feel that our weaknesses disqualify us from His attentive ear, then we must answer where we came up with such a conclusion. I believe it is sound theology to remember that He initially sought us in our abject weakness and is not now repulsed when we continue to experience it. We are told that He understands. He gets you. He is not detoured by your failures and fears. There are none with whom He is ultimately impressed, so we need not fear the potential of not measuring up and therefore being rejected by Him. One might protest that his or her personal weakness involves a besetting sin that cannot be mastered; well, if you do not bring this particular case of struggle to your victorious Lord, where then do you take it? He will never approve our sin but He will certainly respond in grace to our petition for relief from it. He will pinpoint the problem, empower the remedy and teach us to walk in His ways. He will abide with us in our honest struggles until that struggle ends in victory. He does not give up on His own when they determine to honor Him by gaining victory over the rebellious parts of their hearts. You are not presuming to clean yourself up before you tarry before the throne, are you? My goodness, friend, every single time we go before Him we have some trace of sin that His grace considers! We are never to be confident in our own holiness because it can never merit His gracious welcome. We trust in His blood and the character of His infinitude that He has revealed to us. That alone is our confident hope.
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, because of the fact that God is aware of our struggles, that we must intentionally draw near to Him. We must come confidently to Him and exercise the faith that believes we will be greatly welcomed by our Father. He has removed the barring door from its hinges and there is only an open threshold which we are invited – commanded! – to cross. He tells you that He has grace for you. He promises that there is mercy awaiting you. It is the desire of the Savior that you think upon Him as you come, rather than remaining distracted concerning what is lacking in you. Could you imagine your own recoil if your children hid in the closet from you because they feared they were not fit to be in your presence? Multiply your dismay at that thought times a million and you still cannot approach the dishonor God receives when we are so skeptical of His compassion and mercy. Coming to Him in confidence is our only hope that we will find the very thing we require. What is it that we need in our struggles, sicknesses, straying and sins…?
We must tarry before Him, learning all that is immaculately perfect concerning His gracious love and kindness to us. We must stay long enough to sense His acceptance melting away our false accusations. We must exchange our self-focus for the awareness of His offer to rest in what He has accomplished for us. His fists are not clenched; His arms are not folded and His brow is not furrowed. That is the response of man to human weakness. The response of God is sympathy, understanding and the granting of relief. Draw near to Him now by ferocious faith, with audacious confidence in the grace awaiting you through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. Your answers are always with Him. Never stop pressing in. Especially in those days when you inwardly feel the least acceptable to Him. Jesus is an unwaveringly gracious King.