Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hebrews 11:32-12:2

Alan Davenport began this week asking if you ever feel out of step with others. That same theme is picked up again in the remaining verses of Hebrews 11. Because of their faith, the people listed here were all “out of step”; they found themselves at odds with the powers of this world, unable to accept the status quo, not satisfied with a life that looked like the life of everyone around them.

Try this as an image; perhaps it will work for your, perhaps it won’t. I once read a book that spoke of well kept lawns as “sacraments of our suburban sameness”. The people listed here were people who didn’t keep their lawns.

Clearly, the call in these verses is for us to be willing to be “out of step” as well. That shouldn’t surprise us. The church is literally meant to be those who are “called out”; called, as the KJV translated 1 Peter 2:9, to be a peculiar people. Are we willing to leave our lawns unkept?

But if we, like the people in Hebrews 11, are called to be “out of step” with the world around us, we are called to be in step with the people we find in Hebrews 12: the great cloud of witnesses—and, in fact, Jesus himself.

How do we do that? By casting aside every weight (sin) that would hold us back and slow us down. What might that be? What’s holding us back from serving God like we wish we could, like we know we should? What’s slowing us down from making the spiritual progress we long to make?

Then we are to run with perseverance the race set before us. To run this race well is to run for the long haul. It’s easy to start something well; the real question is how we’ll finish.

So how is our Christian walk doing? Is our passion fading? Has our enthusiasm lessened? Is our joy in the running diminished? Do we need to catch our second wind?

And finally, we are to look to Jesus and his example. Where we look is where we go. That’s why we tell people, for instance, to “keep your eyes on the road”.

It is no different with our faith. Where we look is where we go. Look at the world—catalogs, various web sites, the neighbor’s stuff, movies, magazine’s, TV shows—and consciously or unconsciously, we’ll end up looking just like the world around us, just like our neighbors, just like the people in the media.

But keep our eyes on Jesus, and we’ll find ourselves becoming more and more like Him.

Which brings us to the final question: Where are our eyes fixed?

No comments: