Do you ever read a passage of Scripture that just grabs a hold of you? Perhaps it wasn’t profound. It may be obvious, repetitive, or so simple, but it’s God’s Word. And even the most cursory reading can be provocative & challenging.
I’m reading through Hebrews. Generally, as I read through Scripture, especially large chunks, I read it all once attempting to hear the Spirit of how it was written. After I read it, I’ll go back to the beginning & begin some from of ‘Bible study’. And I’m just starting my first reading, as I come across this:
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. – Hebrews 2:1
Boom! Just reading through that quickly, my mind was brought to a halt. Three things pierce my heart about this passage:
1. I am so arrogant.
Chapter 1 in Hebrews is a restatement of Christ’s supremacy & His lordship. It’s a restatement. God is anointing men of faith to repeat themselves, often to people who already profess faith. Paul begins nearly every Epistle reaffirming his apostolic ministry or Christ’s authority. Jesus is often reminding the Apostles of what they had already heard Him say about himself, the Church, God, the lost, or persecution. And if I were in their shoes… I’d go crazy.
I hate repeating myself. My voice carries. I’m probably easily characterized as a loud guy. And nothing confuses & confounds me more than someone not hearing what I just said. Forget importance. I’m certain that most of what I say is useless. But if we locked eyes & I spoke up, how could you miss it?? So imagine my horror & severe dissatisfaction with the reality that I’m the reason God repeats himself so much. I could probably rattle off a few dozen verses from Scripture right now. Even call a few of them my ‘favorites’. And if God so chose to audibly respond in that moment, He may well ask, for all the world to hear, “If you love those verses so much, why don’t you live them?” And he’d by right… & I’d be ruined. I am ruined. And it is wild that I ever think that there are things in God’s Word that I ‘get’ so fully that I can move on to what’s next.
2. I like drifting.
When I was a kid, I wanted a lazy river ride surrounding my house. Nothing is easier & more relaxing than sitting on a tube, out in the warmth of the sunshine, just floating along with the current. And that fascination seems to have become a disease that inflicts believers today. We don’t have to fight, argue, or do bad things. We can just drift. Some current offers a simple, lifeless way of moving through every day, & we take it. And we can convince ourselves that this relaxation is merited. We’ve somehow earned the right to relax our devotion to God & our determination to His work in this world. So we drift, having forgotten what we’ve claimed to know, away from what saves us.
I need to hate drifting. Maybe I should install an electric fence around the house instead. Get a jolt every time I go off in the wrong direction.
3. Paying attention is hard.
What can keep us from perilously drifting? What mystery of God can quiet our arrogance & keep us held tightly to the Lord?? What wisdom, hard to find but necessary for us all, must we endeavor to seize?…
‘we must pay much closer attention…’
How embarrassing. Pay attention? No deep theology or philosophical mystery? Pay attention?!? The key to this passage is being aware, keeping vigilant, & giving notice to what you are already a part of in the Kingdom of God. It can’t be that simple. Can it?
Wouldn’t it be amazing to simply commit to giving God your time & attention, & have Him reward you with intimacy, peace, & purpose? I pray you find that commitment worthwhile. I pray that I fight my love of drifting. And that together, we can all walk so closely to God that His presence is visible on one another.