And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8)
Jesus was in the image of God, yet He did not boast about His equality with God. Instead, Jesus humbled Himself to become a servant of all, taking the form of man. From birth to death, Jesus Christ exhibited His humility and obedience. Jesus was born in a manger, a lowly place, to demonstrate that He came as a servant to save the humble and needy. On the cross, Jesus exemplified total surrender to the will of God.
Even as Christians, we all have our own problems. But what happens when we are in need of help and no one can help us? And what if, while we are weak, others come to us with their problems? Perhaps we would all be too tired or burdened to really care for one another. Or perhaps we would feel discouraged and helpless. Unfortunately, I see this happen quite often in church and it’s an issue that I struggle with. Continue reading
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:13-18)
This passage tells us that not all prayers are the same. Some are more powerful than the others because of the person who is praying. It means that God doesn’t only listen to the words of the prayer, but He also looks at the person who is praying. If the person is righteous before God, his prayer can be just as powerful and effective as that of Elijah who prayed for famine and there was famine, prayed for rain and there was rain. So then the key is the righteousness of the person. But in our Christian living, we may find it hard to do what is right in the eyes of God all the time. We may not commit the mortal sins, but we may daily commit sins that we think are less serious. We unconsciously give the word of God different weights or degree of importance. But in reality, all of God’s word is important and need to be practiced for us to be righteous.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He was being tempted for forty days by the devil (Lk 4:1-2). However, Jesus triumphed over Satan during those temptations. Why must Jesus go through temptations? Temptation is part of the human experience. For Jesus to understand us completely, He had to go through the suffering of temptation so that He may sympathize with our weaknesses and become our merciful High Priest. The devil’s temptations to Jesus focused on three areas: physical desire, greed, and pride – the same categories of temptations we face in our own lives.
When I was younger, one of my favorite poems was “Footprints in the Sand.” However, as I grew older, I heard criticisms against this poem, that it was misleading because God doesn’t carry us on our spiritual journey; we ourselves need to walk with His help, even through the difficult times. I have even heard of a similar poem vulgarly titled “Buttprints in the Sand,” which needless to say uses satire to prove this very point.
While I agree that our walk of faith is indeed a walk that requires our own efforts and resolve, I believe there is merit in the original poem, which at the end reveals that when there was only one set of footprints, it was not that God abandoned us, but that He carried us. Continue reading