Have you ever read something that speaks directly to where you are at the moment and you want to ignore it because you actually enjoy how you are feeling, sometimes it’s fun to nurse anger, or bitterness, or frustration or euphoria or well you get the idea. When we nurse those things along in our lives it’s easy to slip into all sorts of behaviors that can be detrimental to our ability to function in our daily interactions with others, and to have a healthy faith life.
I can’t stand platitudes, easy answers or refusal to look at more than one side of the issue. It’s so easy to find the people who you are most comfortable with, that like you and affirm you and listen to you and so immerse yourself in the subculture of comfort that we build to help ourselves make it through life. What I’m finding is that in those moments where I am most conflicted, or that the things that I am thinking and praying about are not coming into focus the way they should, or the way I think they should it’s usually because I am bringing my notions of what is important, or fair, or relevant into the mix in an unhealthy way. Which brings me to what I read today and in a larger part what I have been reading lately and how it always seems to speak to the areas where my self-righteousness, and self-justification, grow the largest.
Hebrews 2:1 is another in an increasingly long line of verses that have been hitting me pretty hard lately. Not in a bad way in a wow okay I need to step back for a moment.
When I think of all the things that I have heard, all the preaching, all the teaching, all the songs, all the conferences, all of it I realize that there has been a lot that has gone into what makes me into the Christ follower I am today but like everyone else I am subject to the winds of the world, like everyone I tend to gravitate toward people who will tell me what I like to hear, that will agree with me more than call me out on the possibility that I have it wrong, the my interpretation is off that I am missing some key parts of what God is saying through a particular passage, life experience or individual.
When Paul tells us to pay even more attention to what we have heard so we don’t drift away, it’s easy to look at what we were, at what we grew up learning or hearing and trying to get back to it. It’s easy to look at things and think that everything we were taught, all the things we understood were right after all. That our earlier interpretation of scripture, or circumstance is actually the right way of reading things, that life and growth, and change in venue really are the enemies to a deeper more relevant, personal faith life. But what if it’s more than that. What if when we look at what we heard, what we grew up believing was Gospel truth, was wrong? What if some of the things that I took for granted, really shouldn’t be a part of the foundation of my life, and what if some of the new things that I have started to look at and wonder about are equally misguided. If anything Hebrews 2 tells me that it’s easy to drift away when we decide that one camp is all right and one camp is all wrong. There is a place for commonality, but more importantly no matter where we stand on some issues and thoughts and fights. There is a real foundation to our faith that is embodied in the following…“
And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak.”
(2 Corinthians 4:13 HCSB)
Reading the verses around that verse we find that our faith is supposed to be rooted in Jesus, sometimes I get so caught up in the things that come across my Facebook feed, or a tweet from someone who I agree with, or disagree with, I get dug so deep into Orange or Patheos, or Outlaw preachers that I lose sight of the real foundation for my faith, Jesus.
My frustration with what I used to hold dear, or with what I now hold as important many times manifests in sarcasm, frustration and a predisposition to become judgmental. What I have to remember is what I have heard so I don’t drift away from what really matters, from the thing that should bind all people who profess to be Christ followers, the work of God evidenced in my life through the acceptance of Jesus death, resurrection and cross. That last part can be the tricky part because if I read it right when I take up the cross, I’m placing myself in the lowest possible position. The cross invites pain, ridicule, scorn and embarrassment. The cross exposes not just my soft bits but the bits that I thought were strong, that I thought were solid and well worked. The cross not only demands but compels me to death, not once but if the Gospel of Luke is to be believed on a daily basis.
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross DAILY, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 HCSB)
That’s the thing about remembering what we have heard. We are supposed to remember it all, and when we remember those kinds of verse, at least when I do, I want to move on to something more comfortable, self-serving and easy.
I keep wondering what would happen if every day I would look at all the people who I know and love and even the ones I know and don’t love and realize that if they claim Christianity we have the same foundation, and if I really am going to be the Christ follower I claim to be or want to be, I need to wake up pick up the cross, climb the hill lay down and allow the nails to be driven in or the ropes to be tied, and death to come, over and over and over again. With the hope that each time I do there is more of Jesus and less of Aaron.