Staying on Course

So we must be more careful to follow what we were taught. Then we will not stray away from the truth.               Hebrews 2:1 (NCV)

My husband and I had a bit of discussion about this passage of Scripture from this week’s lectionary (Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12). Hebrews is a difficult book for me to write devotions. It covers very complex thoughts. And then there’s understanding those thoughts!

The lectionary texts I think are trying to get me to understand that Jesus is LORD (Chapter 1). He is fully and completely God. There isn’t some hierarchy where the Father or the Spirit has more power. Jesus is God. Jesus while here on earth was also fully human. He was made a little lower than angels, just as I am. And yet at the same time, everything, all was put under His control. Do I understand all of that? It’s a concept bigger than my human brain. It is part of what I take on faith.

Which leads me to the majority of our discussion last night. How do I stay steady or “on course” about what I believe? How do I avoid the deception of false or inaccurate teaching? Jesus and Paul were both very vocal about how I should be careful not to be deceived by those who would tell me what I want to hear or who are just, frankly, false teachers (Matthew 24, 1 and 2 Timothy). Even with good intentions, a person may speak or teach something in error. Even the best pitcher in baseball does not always throw strikes but on occasion misses the plate or the strike zone.

Do not close my mind and spirit. Avoiding inaccurate teaching does not mean living in a closed spiritual closet. A questioning mind is one that will seek the truth. A closed mind believes it has already found its truth and so holds tightly to the “comfortable”. Jesus spent most of His ministry making all those He met un-comfortable with what He taught. He said He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). But it was the scope of what the Law was and was not that troubled Pharisee and disciple alike. God’s Kingdom was coming but it was not going to happen by overthrowing the Roman government. Murdering someone is sin but so was killing them with my tongue.

In my own life, “Take up your cross and follow Me” has gone from being just an encouraging disciple-cry to being a difficult concept to live in my daily life. I have learned that the cross I have been given doesn’t always look like it could be hanging around my neck on a gold chain. My cross may look more like it belongs on Calvary with blood and nail marks.

My faith is alive and evolving. The Bread and Living Water that Jesus provides, feeds a living, growing faith.

Meet with Believers. Meeting with Believers is vital to provide the “iron” of refining, keeping me from being caught in the deception of my perfect beliefs. If my voice and my spirit is the only one that I hear, then I am hearing only a singular, limited voice and I am in danger of fulfilling Jesus’ warning of “the blind leading the blind and both falling into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14).

It is in disagreeing with other Believers that I take the time to think and study about why I believe as I do. I have certain authors that I read their books knowing that I am not going to agree with everything they say. I also know them to be men and women of God who are seeking Him and working well to build His Kingdom. I read them because they challenge me and they always encourage me to look to God’s Word and His Spirit to test what I am reading.

Remember there is grace. One night, several weeks after I committed my life to Jesus, I was sitting in a meeting and a wonderful minister was teaching. He referenced a specific Scripture (I don’t even remember the specifics any more) to make his point. I turned to that passage and was reading along – and stopped. “That isn’t what this says!” I thought. The minister’s point was good. It was a good passage of Scripture but it didn’t mean what he was saying. I was “growing up” and learning to listen to my spirit connect with God’s Spirit for what He was saying. I won’t always “get it right”. I am human like that minister and just like every person who is reading this. I hope that my devotions challenge you to think and study and check God’s Word and ask His Spirit to speak to you.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are so slow to understand. By now you should be teachers, but you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s message. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food. Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby and knows nothing about right teaching. But solid food is for those who are grown up. They are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil.        Hebrews 5:11-14 (NCV)

Let’s get still before God today and ask Him to teach us. Let us study His Word with the hunger of a child who craves what their parent has prepared for them. And let us meet together to share this Fresh Bread and Living Water.

Be Still My Soul written and sung by Russ Taff with The Imperials (1983)

 

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