Immanuel God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our life work, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor. C.H. Spurgeon
From beginning to end He walked a mile in my shoes. He was born into this earth through the womb of a woman, just like you and me. Except for the fact, of course, that He was born of a virgin who was impregnated by the very Seed of God Himself. He was born in the humblest of circumstances, a stable where animals were kept. He was a King, yet He chose not to be born in a palace among the rich, but His life began in poverty. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9 NASB). He left the glory of heaven where everything is perfect and the streets are paved with gold, to be born into this world full of sin. Material wealth is temporary. Our poverty ran much deeper than material poverty.
What an amazing thing that God became man. He was God in the flesh. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14 NASB). His purpose being, to give us a compassionate man who understands us and an obedient man, completely sinless, who could redeem us. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15 NASB).
"And when Jesus was baptized, he went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And behold, a voice from heaven said, This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight! "Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil "(Matthew 3:16,17 Amp.).
Have you ever wondered what Jesus was doing while He was in the wilderness being tempted of the devil for forty day? Was He wringing His hands trying to hold on, hoping He wouldn't succumb to the temptations? I don't believe so! I believe He was drawing near to the throne of His Father, finding His strength there. What is the first thing most of us do when faced with temptation? Do we run to the throne of grace to find the strength we need to overcome or do we try to do it in our own strength? We have the same provision that Jesus had as He was being tempted. "Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]" (Hebrews 4:16 Amp.). He is no stranger to the struggles we face. That is exactly why He tells us to draw near to the throne of grace to find the help we need.
My whole point is, He knows what it is to be human, to face temptation, to feel sorrow and loss. He knows the pain of rejection. He knows what it's like to be betrayed by a "friend". He knows the difficulty of being a suffering servant, rather than one who takes the easy road. He came so He could know and be our compassionate redeemer; One Who ever lives to intercede for us. He sits at His Fathers right hand and pleads on our behalf because He knows what we're going through.
It's so easy to judge others when we haven't been through what they have been through. How do I know what it's like to have to deal with a disease if I've never suffered with it myself? How do I know what it's like to be and alcoholic or drug addict if I've never struggled with those bondages? How do I know what it's like for the one suffering from bipolar disorder if I myself have never suffered with this disorder?
It's so easy to look at others and judge them because we don't understand why the alcoholic can't "just say no" to the next drink. Or why the one suffering from bipolar disorder can't just seem to "snap out of their depression". Most would say, "If your faith were strong enough you wouldn't be that way". The truth of the matter is, if you were going through what that person were going through, you might not be doing as well as they are. If we had walked a mile in their shoes we might have a little different attitude. We would have more compassion and instead of judging them, maybe we would do what Jesus did and reach out and help them.
I'm reminded of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and brought before Jesus by the Pharisees. They wanted to pass judgment on her and sentence her to death. Jesus had compassion on her. Instead of judging her, his compassion moved Him to forgive and set her free. His statement "He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her"(KJV), says to me that none of them were able to pass judgment on her and the only One who was worthy to pass judgment on her, forgave her instead. I can imagine Him reaching down His hand to help her up off of the ground. She was full of guilt and shame and He loved her. What a beautiful picture of compassion.
Sometimes tough love is what we must do. As I was asking the Lord to show me through Scripture how He had to practice tough love, He instantly brought to my mind the story of the man with great wealth who came to Jesus and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. This young man had kept all the commandments since his youth, but Jesus tells him, "One thing you lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Luke 18:22 NASB). Jesus knew what was in the heart of this man. This man loved his riches more than his desire for eternal life. How it must have grieved the heart of Jesus to see this man turn and walk away from Him. What Jesus had to offer this man was a wealth that would never fade away and would lead to eternal life. But Jesus didn't run after the man. He didn't beg and plead with him. He simply spoke and left the choice with the man.
There are times when we must do the same thing. Sometimes we must simply speak the truth and leave the choice with that person. Though we don't know what's in the heart of man, I believe if we will inquire of the Lord, He will tell us what action to take because He does know what's in the heart of man. To know someone is going in a wrong direction and simply have to allow them to make their own choices and reap the consequences of there actions, knowing the consequences will be painful, is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Let me emphasize though, that in those time when we must let someone turn and walk away because they refuse to let go of their sin, it is our duty to intercede for them, to stand in the gap and pray to our Father for them. Remember, Jesus is interceding for us all right now. He is standing in the gap for us because He truly did walk a mile in our shoes and He knows what we are going through.
Let us follow His example and be the one to stand in the gap for the one we know is on a wrong path, a path that could have consequences that may be more than that person ever realized would happen.
God Bless and may His peace be multiplied to you as you grow in the knowledge of Him.
I am a passionate lover of Jesus. My desire in writing is to share that passion with others in hopes that they too will catch on FIRE.
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