On A Wim
In last week’s sermon text, Luke 4:1-13, we read that Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, entered the Wilderness to fast for forty days. Here Jesus encountered the devil who was eager to test, tempt, and thwart the Son of God as Jesus began his work as the Messiah.
Jesus was tested fully. He was 100% human as you and I are. He got as hungry as a person can get. What is remarkable is that even his weakened state, Jesus demonstrated a powerful ability to “just say no” to sin. He models for us an incredible form of resistance based on intimate familiarity with the Word of God.
Most of us know that we are not supposed to sin. And most of us experience frequent failure when it comes to resisting sin. Most folks have a special set of tests and temptations with which we are cozily familiar. These sins are like favorite old friends. Some of us have favorite sins that give us pleasure through indulging one of our appetites. Others among us routinely give way to a lack of self control. And others of us just can’t seem to stop the tide of angry words that bubble up from within when things aren’t going our way. There are a thousand different ways to sin and a thousand different methods to avoid God.
How do we learn to resist as Jesus resisted?
I commend to you a man from the Netherlands named Wim Hof. Wim believes in practicing radical forms of physical resistance as a means to obtaining virtue and self control. Specifically, Wim Hof practices resistance by going in cold water, really cold water sometimes for hours at a time. He also practices a form of breathing each day that builds up the capacity to oxygenate the blood and hold his breath for remarkable lengths of time.
I like Wim Hof’s example because, as whacky as his methods sound, he offers a way to TRAIN for resistance rather than just TRYING HARDER to be good. There is tremendous wisdom in this. Temptation and testing are not the problem. Lack of resistance is the problem.
Wim Hof is living proof that amazing physiological changes result when a human resists the urge to leave cold water, or resists the urge to just take another breath. What Wim illustrates on a physical level is also true on a more profound and spiritual level. Amazing spiritual changes result when a human being resists the urge to indulge in their go-to sins. Resistance opens a window for the Holy Spirit to pour in the strength of God.
We will be tested and tempted to sin today. We are called to resist the nonsense that goes through our minds, whether it comes from the devil or is of our own making. As we resist, God will pour new strength into our spirits. This is God’s way of teaching us the path of Jesus.
Grace and Peace to you as we walk with him,