I spent part of my day today under the dining room table. Why? Because apparently I've got that kind of time on my hands.
For the last few days, Chloe has claimed the underside of our dining room table as her personal play kingdom. This afternoon, I crawled under there to join her. As I lay there, the most amazing thing happened. I started to see the world around me in a whole new way.
It reminded me of "Dead Poets Society," when Robin Williams told his students to stand on his desk so they could get a different perspective of their surroundings. The only difference was that I wasn't on top of a desk looking down, I was under a table looking up.
Do you know what I discovered? Everything looks very different from Chloe's perspective.
Yes, that's me: Captain Obvious.
Everything's much bigger from Chloe's point of view. Things that I normally don't give a second thought to can be quite intimidating when seen through the eyes of a child. After spending a little time on her level, I now see that the world that is so familiar and ordinary to me can be strange - even scary - to her.
Sometimes we think the temptations we're experiencing are too big for us to deal with. It's easy to become scared and accept defeat before the battle against our temptations even begins.
But take heart! Jesus Christ spent a little time "under the table" too. He came to this world and lived in it for 33 years, experiencing every aspect of human existence. He experienced love, joy, anger, sadness. He knew what it was like to feel pain. He knew what it was like to be tired. And he knew what it was like to be tempted. Hebrews 4:15 says, "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."
Why did Jesus live so long as a human before paying the penalty for our sins? So he could gain an understanding of our human perspective on life, love and temptation? I don't think so. Jesus is God's son. He knows everything. He would understand our perspective without ever having to leave the throne room of heaven.
No, I believe one of the reasons Jesus came was so WE would know that he understood our perspective. And because we know he understands our perspective, we're more likely to seek him when we need help resisting temptation.
Jesus gives us the encouragement to face our temptations. He gives us the strength to resist our temptations. And with his help, hopefully our victories over our temptations will become more numerous than our defeats.
This world can be a big, scary place. Sometimes we may feel like we're small children sitting under a table, looking up at everything towering above us. But don't worry. Your heavenly father is with you. He knows your worries, your fears and your temptations.
And he will help you face each one.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville.