Think of something that tempts you. It might be food, cheating, lashing out in anger, lying, engaging in substance abuse, pursuing an inappropriate relationship … temptations are all around us. As we mature, we learn coping strategies for not giving in every time. Most of the time. But then there are other situations where the temptation gets the best of us, and we are lost.
I have come to realize, after years of marriage and divorce counseling, that temptations are often the root cause of a broken marriage. Adultery, overspending, angry words, the need to dominate … relationships can easily be sunk when one partner can’t resist a temptation and gives in to it.
In our passage from Hebrews, we find a word of encouragment for those times when we are tempted to do something unhealthy, ungodly, or unholy. And oh, does it please the devil when we give in to temptation! He lives for those moments when our weakness overcomes us and he wins. But the writer assures us that by becoming flesh and blood, Jesus also encountered temptations. The good news for us is, he overcame every one and with his power we can, too.
Hebrews 2 (Common English Bible)
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who holds the power over death—the devil—by dying. 15 He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death.16 Of course, he isn’t trying to help angels, but rather he’s helping Abraham’s descendants.
Did you get that? Jesus shared in all of the same things that we deal with on a daily basis. He was tempted by all the same things we struggle with, but he overcame every one. In so doing, Jesus destroyed the devil’s power over flesh and blood. Praise God! We have a savior who GETS US.
17 Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way. This was so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, in order to wipe away the sins of the people. 18 He’s able to help those who are being tempted, since he himself experienced suffering when he was tempted.
What is tempting you right now? Go to the One who overcame it all for your sake. He has experienced what you are experiencing in your suffering, and he is ready and able to hear your prayers and give you strength.