Giving the More Earnest Heed
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
These are not the times to become careless and indifferent. These are very possibly the end times, the last days, and our endurance will be sorely tested. To use the word “serious” in describing these times is to downplay their importance. If indeed it is true that Jesus is actually at the door and ready to return, should that not send shivers down our spines and cause our hearts to melt into repentance and a deeper commitment to worship and service?
But how often do believers become comfortable and even passive in their faith and expressions of that faith? How often have we succumbed to our culture and the pressures of this present life, and in doing so we become lukewarm? As darkness increases in scope and depth, should not light increase as well, even if that light remained the same? If you light a candle in a lit room its light is diffuse, but if you slowly begin to turn off all other lights that candle becomes increasingly bright, even when the flame itself remains at the same size and brightness. So when spiritual darkness increases all around us, and yet our lights become less and less observable, what does that indicate?
It reveals that we are being assimilated by the darkness. And go and sit in the average evangelical church and do you anticipate hearing the pastor speak with any kind of passionate urgency at the present situation? The incandescence that Jesus said should be ours has gone out and the vessels are indifferent to that. It doesn’t happen overnight, but little slips added to little slips and before long you are practicing a diluted and even bastardized brand of Christianity and embrace it warmly.
Let us examine the personal level, which actually is part of the collective. Do you spend daily time with the Lord? I do not speak of reading five minutes of Daily Bread or spending ten minutes reading the assigned verses that will help you read through the Bible in one year (highly overrated). Are there times where the Spirit imprisons your heart and binds you for a time to a section of Scripture where you meditate almost hourly until that portion of God’s Word breaks you and begins to reform your very being? I’m not saying that is the norm, but does that ever take place?
The majority of American believers have time for all sorts of things but precious little for any deep and meaningful feeding from the Scriptures. I am reticent to rehearse again the ratio between television, entertainment, sports, fellowship, in comparison to reading and spiritually consuming God’s Word. All of us are guilty before our Blessed Savior and all of us are in need of repentance and revival. We bare the shame of treating God’s Word as if it was just one part of a well rounded western religious lifestyle.
What about personal prayer? If our dedication to God’s Word is wanting, then our prayer lives are a much greater source of shame. The mice maze western lifestyle has all but consumed our time for any elongated and meaningful times of prayer. And since we have become accustomed to comparing ourselves with ourselves, we feel comfortable and just a slight conviction about the extent and depth of our personal prayer lives. In general, the average evangelical prayer life mocks the God he professes to serve. Is that not a primary part of a believers life, and have we not let it slip? And if nothing changes, today is tomorrow.
But the end is at the door, and even if we ourselves are saved, those around us are in eternal danger. This is no religious game; this is life and death…eternally. Do we still believe that God can pour out His power upon His people if they will seek His face and turn from their wicked ways? Do we thirst for more of Jesus or have we become satisfied with doctrinal scraps? The church is asleep and like Samson we do not even know our power is gone. Masses and masses of young people are graduating from high school and leaving the church, and we think that inventing more attractive activities will draw them back. But in reality, they leave because nothing is happening in our midst. The intense presence and reality of Jesus Christ is no longer there.
The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to give the MORE EARNEST HEED to the things that we have heard. That does not mean we should lightly salt our lives with some practical moral teachings, and participate in the church building program. That means we should, we must, circumcise our hearts and with brokenness and contrition and allow God’s Word to mold us into the present life of Jesus the Christ. Anyone who openly suggests that what we now live mirrors the Lord Jesus is deceived and a liar. And instead of being ashamed at our pitiful revelation of our Redeemer, the church becomes bellicose in the affairs of this world. Shouting and spewing redemption less moral invectives aimed toward those who are already dead in trespasses and sins is the very height of spiritual hubris and pharisee-ism. And while we assume the moral high ground, the visible church is filled with adultery, divorce, immorality of all sorts, and a dedication to greed and hedonism that rivals the Masonic lodge.
Shhhh…listen. Still no sense of urgency or crisis. To you, the individual believer, there may not ever be a massive repentance among the visible church. However God continues to hold us as individuals accountable. Are you still not discontent with the things of this world? Are you not yet tired of it all, the back and forth political wrangling, the debt ridden western lifestyle, the striving to fend off boredom, and the worry laden attempt to gain more and keep more? Is your soul still not exhausted and willing to turn and pursue a different direction?
If God Himself came down and told you personally that the return of Jesus would be in your lifetime, would that dramatically change the way you live? And if so, wouldn’t that mean that the level of your consecration to Jesus is dependent upon the chronology of future events and not the magnificence of His very Being and what He sacrificed for you?? I feel a tangible sense of impending doom and glory emanating from the very same event…the return of the King of all Kings. By His grace I will be a part of that glory, but also by His grace I want to be His instrument to warn and woo those who now stand in the impending doom.
As much as possible, I want to be Jesus.
My journey to that end has more in front of me