Hebrews 12:12-13 - Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
A boxer sits on a stool in the corner of a ring. His elbows propped up by the ropes, his gloved hands hanging limp. Blood trickles down the corner of his mouth and a raspberry-colored shiner is beginning to swell his right eye. The room is dark, steamy with sweat, and smoky as all get out.
The fighter, nearly exhausted, catches his breath after suffering a barrage of blows from an opponent he thought he could take, or at least subdue. He looks at his knees, and they're both shaking. He's wondering how much more of this he can take.
His ribs are sore, his ears are ringing, and his tongue finds a gap where a tooth used to be. He didn't count on this. Ding! There goes the bell.
Isn't this the way it is sometimes? We face opponents we think we can "take," manage on our own, and in our best days maybe even defeat. A little pre-fight sparring and we're feeling pretty good. We dodge a few jabs, deflect a right hook or two, and pride ourselves on our catlike reflexes. We're ready to go, we tell ourselves. "Strap on the gloves, and let's get to it!" (Big mistake.)
Like the boxer here, we may have found more than we bargained for.
Our physical training and personal pep talks may work against flesh and blood opponents, but on our own we're no match for the one who not only wants to knock us out but put us six feet under.
The writer of the book of Hebrews knows well the battles we face—and the One who faced them before us. That's why he says, "Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted" (Hebrews 12:4).
When we're in the thick of it, when punches are coming at us left and right, we have One we can count on. He is ever present in our time of need (see Psalm 46:1). He hears us when we call (1 John 5:14-15), and we can be confident that He does.
When our knees are weak and our strength is spent, God will revive. He will quicken our hearts against the foes we face, taking over our fight and giving us the victory. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me" (Psalm 138:7).
What a Friend we have in Jesus. He took the blows that we deserved and lifts us up when we're knocked down.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we struggle with our flesh and the enemy who opposes us. Teach us to return to Your Word daily and find there the strength and courage we need for the fight. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. How do you recalibrate when your life's getting off track or out of control?
2. Where do you turn in Scripture (favorite verses) to find strength for the fight?
3. Would others consider you as someone who lifts them up or encourages them when they're in a struggle?
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