Saturday, November 11, 2006

Believe and be saved

I have to confront someone about something, and I have to do it soon. I don't really want to do it; I'm a little frightened about how he will react, I'm not sure whether it'll do any good, and so on. So today's reading from Hebrews is well timed.
Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while,
“He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
from Hebrews 10:35-39
It's encouraging and exciting to me that people in those days had need of these same words that I need today; they too faced the temptation to shrink back. Were they like me in sometimes preferring comfort -- something Morley (The Man in the Mirror) calls "the beautiful, wrinkle-free life" -- over spiritual growth?

But what is going on here? Is this saying that if I shrink back, God will be displeased and therefore destroy me? I don't think so. But if I make a habit of shrinking back from growth, then I'll end up shrinking back from life itself, and that's what will lead me down the path of death and destruction. Because really, when I shrink back from an opportunity to grow, what am I saying about my core beliefs, my mental map?

I guess I'm saying something else is more important than growth, which at least in my case means "more important than following God" -- in particular, indulging my fears, pandering to them if you will. An alternate, more current phrasing way to put this would be, "Staying in my comfort zone is more important than following God."

Gaaa! I don't want to be that guy.

Fortunately, there's help. As someone has pointed out, the most frequent command in the Scriptures is "Be not afraid," and the frequent reason given is "for I am with you," the "I" being the Lord. Isaiah 41:10 comes to mind: “Do not fear, for I am with you.” A few chapters later, the Lord says through Isaiah, “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men... that you forget the Lord your maker...?” (from Isaiah 51:12-13)

He is with me. Can I remember that today?

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