“When Your Grip Slips”

January 17, 2017

Tufted Titmouse  (photo by Doris High)

Titmouse
(photo by Doris High)

“When Your Grip Slips”

Message summary: Are you losing your grip? Here’s encouragement!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“He (God) gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble” (Hebrews 12:12).

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

Climbing ropeMost all of us can recall our Physical Education classes from Elementary through High School.  I thoroughly enjoyed my PE classes at Truman High School in Independence, MO since I was reasonably athletic.

One of the optional conditioning exercises included several large thick climbing ropes that hung down from the gymnasium ceiling. Students would take turns shimmying up the ropes to the top of the gym and then back down. As I recall I needed to use my legs as well, unlike the man in the photo!

Do schools still provide these climbing ropes? It does seem like there could be a safety factor and thus dreaded liability since, in my high school days, it was just the climber and the rope. However I don’t recall hearing of any accidents. Now they probably have all kinds of tethering.

Yesterday we wrote a message about “holding on with a tight grip”. But today we consider what happens if your grip slips. Any analogy of the Christian life will likely have some deficiency. One of my favorites is a race, a marathon race which we wrote about last Friday. This is a Scriptural analogy since several passages liken our journey here below to a physical race.

So let’s consider another use with a climbing rope. God in His grace provided a rope for each of us. By faith we take hold of the rope and begin our climbing journey of Biblical instruction, faith, obedience and perseverance. The children’s song, “Climb, climb up sunshine mountain”, comes to mind although they’re climbing a mountain rather than a rope!

Calloused handsClimbing a rope is not easy and the ascent will challenge the climber whose duty it is, with just the grip of his or her hands and arm strength, to pull one’s entire body weight in one motion.  Perspiration, due to holding tightly to the rope may even cause one’s grip to lose traction. Over time callouses will form and when inflamed the rope will burn. Weakness or the seeming impossibility of getting to the top can easily discourage even an experienced climber. Distractions below may beckon us back down, but our call is to keep on climbing!

Hebrews 12:12We may lose our grip and start to slip down a bit. Perhaps the writer of Hebrews had this in mind when he challenged his readers to, “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble” (Hebrews 12:12). The New Living Translation states here, “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.”

Tired runner“The experience of ‘hitting the wall’ in a Marathon is a picture of weak hands, feeble knees. The exhortation implies that the readers are acting as though spiritually paralyzed. This means to restore to straightness … to reinvigorate. The command to ‘strengthen’ comes from the word from which we derive our English word orthopedic.” (Precept Austin commentary)

When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all
Stephen Escedy, a longtime friend who is now with the Lord, was a part of the church we pastored in upstate Pennsylvania. Stephen was an alcoholic prior to his commitment to Christ and had a lot of hurts in his past. He once told me, “I am hanging on a rope and at times slide down it a little but at the end of the rope Jesus has placed a strong knot.”

Isaiah 40:29Are your hands weak or your knees feeble today? Are you dealing with setbacks that weary you along the way? Strengthen and lift up your hands today in faith and praise toward God. This must primarily be an act of willful obedience rather than an emotional response.

As you lift them up in obedience I believe you will experience the uplifting spiritual, physical and mental revitalization that Isaiah writes about in 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
To press on

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the journey is long, the obstacles are many, and the endurance needed to live by faith is the challenge given to every believer. In ourselves we are ill-equipped physically, mentally, and emotionally to endure to the end. But You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. Our brothers and sisters help strengthen our weak hands  and our feeble knees.  With the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus we find the strength to press onward and upward. It is in Jesus’ name that we press on. Amen.


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Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Press On”  Video  Selah

“Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain”  Video  Cedarmont Kids

“Be Strong & Take Courage”  Video   Don Moen

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