October 17, Thursday

Devotional Thought for Today

“A Sympathetic Ear”

Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Early in my college days, I went through a series of eating disorders. Though I felt healed from it, the road in recovering was riddled with moments of struggle that I hadn’t expected. Because so few of my friends understood the experience, I often felt that I didn’t know how to navigate my problems. But one day, while meeting with an older sister, I decided to share in order to stay vulnerable. In doing so, I learned that she experienced the same things! Immediately, I felt relieved, safe, and understood. I knew that I could ask for her guidance. Realizing that someone had gone before me in this experience encouraged me to persevere and comforted me with the reminder that I was not alone. 

The Scripture says that, for us, Jesus has gone through every temptation and trial that we face. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says that He was tempted in all things yet remained without sin. While we may know in our minds that Jesus went through some sufferings, we rarely take the time to reflect on how Jesus can and will understand us when we come to Him. 

We can go to Him for everything! He experienced abandonment and betrayal. He understands how it feels to be misunderstood by family and strangers. He understands weariness and the struggle to honor the Father to the very end. He understands the barrage of temptations that arise when we want to react to each of those situations. And He overcame! So we can come to Him, knowing that we will find a friendly and sympathetic ear and knowing that we will surely be understood.

Our Christ has gone ahead of us and overcome. Let us come to Him with confidence, knowing that He will provide the mercy, grace, and guidance that we crave. Is there something weighing your heart that makes you feel all alone in your experience? I urge you to call on Jesus today. Better than any human comfort, He understands perfectly, and He is always available and present.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for going before me in every way. I know that I can come to You as a friend and confidant. Show me more of Your understanding so that I could be even more forthcoming in my life and see how safe and wonderful it is to share my heart with You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 18


Lunch Break Study

Read John 15:13-17: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why is it significant that we are now counted as friends of God?
  2. What is the command that Jesus gives to His friends to follow?
  3. Jesus describes a oneness in mind and spirit that comes from friendship with God. What does this oneness result in?

Notes

  1. Friends are different from servants because friends have a level of exchange and intimacy that a master-servant relationship would not. Friends disclose their hearts and thoughts in a mutual exchange. Masters only tell servants commands and tasks to do but never disclose their intentions and plans. Friendship with God is not just a warm relationship; He willingly chose us to become friends and grants us access to His ideas and plans. 
  2. The command that Jesus gives is to love each other. The love that He specifically calls us to (and emphasizes) is a sacrificial love that honors others’ lives above our own. This is not always about dying in place of one another, but a consideration of others above ourselves.
  3. Oneness with Jesus when we are exchanging our thoughts with His and also obeying His commands becomes a lifestyle in which our desires and wishes are also totally fulfilled. If our lives are bent on serving / loving others and being wholly devoted to God’s people, we can be more sure that our wishes and desires are more pure and in-line with what God desires; they are the very things He will grant.

Evening Reflection

How did today go? Were there any instances as you sought God that it felt more certain that He understood and sympathized? Let’s ask Him to be at the forefront of our thoughts so that we can always turn to Him for counsel and support.

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