The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(a bit longer than usual, but the subject matter is so vital to a consistent walk of faith and faithfulness to God that I am taking a liberty. Thanks).
"Hesitant, But Holy"
In our present existence, our immediate response to the will of God may involve hesitation. This does not necessarily mean we are not submitted to the will of God, nor that we have disobeyed. Two Biblical illustrations confirm this truth.
"A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first" (Matthew 21:28-31).
As long as believers live with the flesh in which resides a "law of sin," impulses contrary to the will of God will remain with us even as we walk faithfully with God (Romans 7:22). No less than the Apostle Paul testified accordingly: "When I would do good, evil is present with me" (Romans 7:21). Like the first son who initially balked, but who ultimately obeyed, believers must often make choices of faith and submission to God while our fleshly inclinations flow in a very different direction. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Galatians 5:17). Indeed, the first son in the parable above serves as one of my favorite Biblical characters. He was hesitant, but holy. Another Biblical character, however, serves as a far greater and much holier example of overcoming keen internal challenge in order to do the will of God:
"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done" (Luke 22:41-42).
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, perfectly devoted and perfectly obedient to the will of God, nevertheless felt the natural human impulse to not do what He knew He had been sent by His Father to do. He was "tempted in all points like as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). He overcame, of course, and trounced the devil, the world, and the flesh every time they confronted His devotion to His Father. However, the Lord Jesus felt what it feels like to be tempted as a man, or as the writer of Hebrews described, He was "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." What a wonder! And what an example and encouragement to us! Even our Savior found it necessary to overcome temptation. His perfection did not preclude such challenge, nor does our imperfection keep us from overcoming such challenge. Our great and faithful High Priest has journeyed upon the tempting paths we traverse every day. And became He overcame, we can overcome through Him also.
"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
In times when some aspect of God's will seems like the thing we most want to do, let us rejoice in the Holy Spirit's working in our hearts "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). However, we also do well to rejoice that all is not lost when obedience to our Father seems far removed from our human inclinations. In fact, much can be gained when we realize that temptation is not sin, nor must it inevitably lead to sin. Temptation rather affords blessed opportunity to "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). The One who overcame in His humanity now lives in us by His Spirit to provide overcoming grace in our humanity. Recognizing the difference between temptation and succumbing to temptation will go far in leading us to follow the son who resisted and then obeyed, and even more, the only begotten Son who also knew what it means to be "hesitant, but holy." His overcoming of temptation resulted in our eternal salvation, and also in His complete awareness of the challenges we face...
"Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."
"We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Weekly Memory Verse
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe."