Hebrews 2: Are You a Drifter?

There are some things you learn and never forget. Like riding a bike, of course, but other things too. We do not forget simple arithmetic like two plus two, and there are certain facts for which we do not need be reminded, like who served as the first or sixteenth American president. These things we know, and somehow, barring dementia, we will always know them. But spiritual truths are very different. We have an amazing propensity to forget what we once knew. We need constant reminders.

Hebrews 2:1 says “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” There is an old hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, which has a heartbreaking line about being a drifter, it laments being “prone to wander…prone to leave the God I love.” I think we wander because we forget. We forget what is really important (trusting and obeying God), and get caught up in all sorts of meaninglessness.

We forget how God loves us; we forget how He has provided for us; we forget how even in the ugliest moment of our whole lives, that moment we’d give anything to have back, that God loved us in that moment just the same. We are ingrates. We forget. And we forget what God expects of us (Christ plus nothing) and we forget what kind of lives we are supposed to lead (Christ-like). Let’s face it, we all have chronic and severe spiritual amnesia.

But identifying the problem is the first step towards a solution, right? So what would someone who truly suffers from amnesia do? What kinds of systems would they have in place to help them remember? I’m not an expert in this area (or any other), but the following would undoubtedly help an amnesiac.

1. Following a routine.
2. Constantly being reminded of the things most vital to their well-being.
3. Using sticky notes and other written reminders for daily life.

And these apply perfectly to spiritual amnesia as well. So, is reading your Bible and spending time in prayer part of a daily routine? Are you constantly reminded by others of the spiritual truths most vital to your well-being? This means we need godly friends and solid biblical teaching. Finally, are you using sticky notes and other written reminders? This might be journaling or might be verses of scripture on post-its and 3x5s.

If we acknowledge our propensity to forget, we should be willing to take these measures to “pay more careful attention.” And I, for one, need to do better.

Not a Prophet, Nor an Angel. . . Better By Far

I like blogging in series because it helps keep me motivated and focused. Left unchecked I might just start writing about the funny things that happen around the Jackson house, and while that might be entertaining for a few related souls, it probably wouldn’t spur anyone on toward love and good deeds. So for my new series I’m blogging through Hebrews, which seems appropriate since the mission verse of this blog is found there. I would love it if you’d carefully read through this book with me and feel free to leave a comment. My plan is to blog twice per week until I know Hebrews like never before.

The first chapter of Hebrews is all about the identity of Christ. The author seems to be aiming to clear up some misconceptions that have crept into this community of believers — no, Jesus Christ is NOT an angel; no, Jesus Christ is NOT a prophet. He is God’s Son. He “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (v. 3).
When you think about it, Hebrews 1 answers the most important question in the history of the world, the same question that Jesus pointedly asked his disciples. “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). There is nothing more important in this life, nothing, than how we answer this question. So who do YOU believe Jesus, the man who physically lived on this earth, was?
If you’ve read C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity then you probably know his brilliant take on our rather limited options — we can only reasonably conclude that Jesus was liar, lord or lunatic. (If you haven’t read Mere Christianity, please email me and I’d be extremely happy to send you a copy. I have about twenty extra sitting on my shelf.)
Lewis wrote, “let us not come away with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” Yet fifty years later it is still commonplace for people to sweep the divine claims of Jesus right under the rug. The wisdom of Jesus’ teaching is compelling, but many are too prideful to entertain that Jesus is in fact God.
So who do we believe Jesus was or is? It’s a vital, life-defining, eternity-determining question. But it is also imperative that our lives bear out our beliefs. Do you ever stop to think, how does my day to day life evidence my beliefs? What would someone watching me conclude that I believe? Do I treat Jesus like a prophet, an angel, a great moral teacher, a liar, a lunatic, or is He my Lord?
Hebrews is abundantly clear: Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is sitting at the right hand of God. May our lives speak so clearly!