Day 50 - Issue 21

June 7, 2017

Hebrews 2:18 NLT

'Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.'

The majority of the formal tests I’ve taken have been to measure my intelligence, or more precisely, how I organise my intelligence. My years at school were not good initially but later I came alive and did exceptionally well. Now I could concentrate on the one subject that interested me, history. However, here I lost my way, believing that scoring well in exams was in fact some measure of my value as a person. While at Oxford I found Christ and found a different set of values.

Jesus wasn’t impressed with my exam results or that interested in my career pathway. I was now aware of the distance that lay between how I viewed myself and how God viewed me. The values I’d imbibed were at odds with those I encountered in scripture. For example, I realised that getting drunk with my mates was at odds with Jesus’ preferences. Stopping and obeying Jesus was not an act of the intellect but an act of the will. Discipleship can never be tested by an exam.

Then I experienced Jesus taking me at my word. First reminding me of the statements of commitment I continued to make, perhaps foolishly and impetuously, at Christian events. Then he tested my resolve to follow through by leading me into difficult circumstances. This was not to damage me. It was an act of love enabling me to discover more about myself, about God and the character of God’s kingdom expressed on earth. My complaint fell on deaf ears as God reminded me that Jesus persevered through many tests in pioneering and perfecting obedience.

How true was I to my declaration of love and obedience? Of course, whenever I faltered and failed, I received no notification of failure, rather a warm embrace and encouragement to keep going. In my struggles I was to take a moment to stop struggling and simply gaze on Jesus, to consider his life and trials that grew from obedience.

QUESTION: How can Jesus’ own life and witness help you when life is hard?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you know the pain of struggle and trial, of suffering and hardship. Would you help, today, your children who are going through trials?

 

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