I recently heard these words from a sermon preached by a young minister named Reggie Abraham. Reggie and his family attend the same church we have been attending the past several weeks, and this was my first time hearing him minister.
The thought behind this statement was that we all stumble and fall as we journey on with Jesus, but that just as our Leader stumbled on the way to the Cross but got up and continued on, so must we.
I was struck by the irony of Reggie’s statement for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it’s true that we are often knocked down and must pick ourselves up and start again. Sometimes we have the help of fellow believers to assist us, yet there are also times when it takes the Lord to raise us up and right our ship. Either way, we press onward.
I also found it ironic that Reggie spoke about falling down, because for the past six years he has had more than his share of being down. You see, six years ago Reggie suffered a serious stroke while riding his motorcycle. His right side was paralyzed and it was a miracle that he was able to get his bike stopped, especially considering how fast he was going.
While I don’t know all of the details, having just met him, I do know that he has spent a long, long time trying to rehabilitate his body and return to some sense of normalcy. Today, six years later he is still greatly afflicted on the right side of his body and just recently was able to find employment.
What is so remarkable about Reggie, and others like him who have had to overcome tremendous obstacles in their lives, is his indomitable spirit. His smile is contagious and his sense of humor will leave you laughing along with him as he delivers the Word in a manner that is guaranteed to touch your heart.
All of us face obstacles don’t we? I honestly don’t know a single person who can truthfully claim that their life has been one without hardship, regret, illness, or some sort of catastrophe.
I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but I have yet to meet the person who lives in a bubble, unscathed by the world and all its trappings.
Jesus in fact told us that we would have trouble in this life. He said “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world“. John 16:33. ESV
I love how Jesus tells us to “take heart”. Even though trouble will no doubt come our way, He’s saying to us to be encouraged and empowered because He has overcome the world. Do you know that because He has already overcome, you also are an overcomer through Him?
He has gone before you and has walked in some of the same places you walk through. Scripture reminds us that “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin“. Hebrews 4:15. ESV
It is a faithful saying that Jesus understands your predicament. He’s been there, done that. Your greatest temptations, the ones that knock you off of your feet, the ones that send you reeling from their consequences, know that Jesus understands them because no one has ever endured the magnitude of temptations He endured.
Unlike many of us however, He successfully overcame them all, and so can you if you’ll place your hope in Him.
As Reggie said, “this work isn’t for wimps”. We all know serving the Lord brings with it unique challenges, and sometimes the journey can seem difficult at best. But the great thing about it is we don’t need to fight or overcome by our own strength or abilities.
Thankfully, God isn’t looking for perfect physical specimens to carry out His work. He isn’t concerned with our BMI, or if we have 13.1 or 26.2 decals on our car windows.
No, we have a great high priest who is leading the charge against our enemies. Our hope, our ultimate victory, is assured in Christ. His resurrection spelled defeat over Satan, over death, over Hell, and over the grave!
And besides, even if you are a wimp, it’s not your battle to fight but Jesus’s. All we need to do is get out of His way!