“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
You likely have heard something that generally goes as follows, “Pray not only when you need something because you have a lot to be thankful for.” It is certainly reasonable advice since we truly do have an infinite amount of things to be thankful for from our incredible God. But in another sense, it might fall short, reducing our relationships with God to one that feels focused primarily on having our desires met as the end goal of faith, that God’s only purpose in our life is to provide us some sort of earthly comfort and contentment. And I’m not talking about biblical contentment that Paul talks about across the Epistles (Phil. 4:11-13, 1 Tim. 6:6-12, 2 Cor. 12:9-10), but more of the kind where we mark off our Christian checklists and then live that other part of our lives with minimal thought of what it could look like if our every thought, action, and moment was done with Christ and through Him.
In context, Hebrews 4:14-16 introduces Christ as our great high priest “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” and therefore we can be confident in drawing near to the throne of grace especially in a “time of need.” This passage is clear on how we can receive forgiveness through our eternal High Priest Jesus when we fall short and how we can receive support in the midst of temptation. But realistically, aren’t we always in a time of need? It might not be a particular sin that we’re struggling with, but living our whole lives with God can be a struggle. After all, Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” and I know there are more times than not that I don’t seek the kingdom of God first, mindlessly or not (Matt. 6:33).
Jesus makes it quite clear, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” and “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (Mt. 4:4, Jn. 15:5). And Paul says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out (Rom. 7:18). We clearly need Christ in every single aspect of our lives and because he is our High Priest, we can approach him with confidence with complete reliance on His power and authority over our lives.