Monday, 6 October 2014

Warnings in the book of Hebrews (no 1 in a series)

Pay attention, lest you drift away

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?”  Hebrews 2:1-3

Once when I was a teenager, I was swimming at Bribie Island, floating around on my air mattress in fairly shallow water. Suddenly I realised that the mattress was drifting out into the deeper water. Jumping off the mattress, I could just stand up, but as I tried to pull the mattress back to shore with me, the current pulled it out of my grasp. I had the choice of trying to follow it into deeper water, or let it drift away. I let it go and headed for the shallows. Fortunately some people in a boat nearby observed the situation and motored over to rescue the mattress and tow it back to shore for me.

In these verses of Hebrews, God warns us how easily the undercurrents of sin and worldly desires can pull us away from Him. We are to remain aware in a spiritual sense of where we are and not become complacent about our faith. We no longer have a set of rules and regulations constituting a religion, but a covenant relationship with God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We have a living faith that grows with awareness of all that God is, filled with wonder and learning and blessing. We are anchored in the storms of life, not floating away like my air mattress.

Yet tragically, there is always the temptation waiting there that something will, for a momentary gain, destroy what we possess. We’re all tempted, with money or power or  false idols, something that we think will be wonderful, when deep down we know it’s not what God intends for us.Sometimes disillusionment or bitterness or anger can creep into our lives, steering us onto a treacherous course.

There are some lifeguards that surround us, to prevent us from drifting. One is prayer. The Holy Spirit, the One who comes alongside, is our Counsellor. Another is study of God’s living word, the Bible. Another is fellowship with Christian friends in a caring Christian community. Surround yourselves with the things of God- Christian music, Christian books, Christian DVDs and films which are edifying of Him. Think about Him. It may sound trite, but as the old hymn says, we need to count our blessings and remind ourselves how much God has done for us. All these things help us to stay focused and give God the priority which He deserves in our lives. 

Kilometers of pristine beach and hardly anyone else around - where else but Australia?
 Fingal, NSW

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