Driving home last night, I happened upon one of my favorite pastors’ sermons. Tony Evans was talking about our connection to Christ and he said, in regards to a man walking his dog without a leash, “the relationship is the leash.” And I hollered, “Preach, Dr. Evans!” perhaps a bit too loudly.
That statement is profound to me!
I’ve given my total allegiance to Christ, laid my life before him and said, “Do your thing.” There’s nothing I won’t do for him.
Because I know him. I know Christ’s heart, his flawless character, and his amazing love for me and all the people.
Because I’ve spent time reading about him and what he said for the few years of his ministry on earth. I’ve read and reread accounts about his life, written by people who knew him. I’ve talked with him, heard from him, and now abide with him and he with me.
I don’t need a leash, praise the Lord! In other words, the Old Testament law was replaced by New Testament grace, and because that freedom allows me to get into a relationship with Christ, I’m not bound by the law; I desire to do what God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit want me to do. In fact, I’m pretty pumped about it.
I walk with Christ because I want to.
And as God tends to do, he aligned my devotional reading today with what Dr. Evans spoke to me last night.
This morning, I’m reading Jesus Our Everything, a Study of Hebrews by Love God Greatly (LGG). Aside: If you’re looking for a devotional, try the LGG books. They use the SOAP bible study method and it’s awesome. Their online forums and blog are on point, as well.
Hebrews 2:1 says: Therefore we must pay close attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
You know how I like to personalize scripture, so read this with me and insert your name where mine is.
Hebrews 2:1 in my own words: Shauna must pay close attention to what she’s read and learned about Jesus through his infallible word, the bible, so that she does not drift away from Christ Jesus, her Redeemer and King.
As usual, my questions are, WHY? And HOW?
Why pay close attention, Shauna?
So that you don’t drift away from Christ and the unshakable assuredness of abiding with God. That’s in black and white.
How do I pay close attention?
I think there are three main attributes that I need to practice daily to ensure that I’m giving Jesus my close attention.
Jesus told us the keys. He handed us the keys to the Kingdom! (Matthew 16:19)
Christians should do these things because they want to — and if they don’t want to, they should pray to get that desire. I’ve been there. It will come if you approach God in earnest, in truth. Note that these disciplines will not buy you a ticket to heaven. Only, only, only accepting Christ as your savior will guarantee your place in heaven.
So, Christians should want to do — and do — these things to grow closer to Christ and because he says we should do them:
- Meet together
- Discuss the bible, Jesus, life in Christ
- Study, read, memorize scripture
- Be still and listen to the Holy Spirit speak
- Minister to others
- Give finances and time
When I don’t practice the disciplines outlined above, I pray for a heart change because something’s going wrong in my faith.
I believe faith can be defined as unshakable assurance in something/someone, Christ in this instance. When I have that faith, I want to please him. Therefore, these disciplines are my desire, not my burden. However, if my old human nature creeps into my mind or spirit or both, a simple, heartfelt prayer to Jesus flips it on its head. “Lord, renew my faith, increase my faith, return me my desire to abide with you!”
- Do It-ness
If my commitment is there (I’m practicing the disciplines) and my desire is there (I want to pursue Christ and abide with him), then my do-itness comes naturally. This made-up word means a combination of desire and action.
In addition to disciplines, Christ gives us opportunities. If I’m in a proper relationship with God, the Holy Spirit nudges me to do things — like go talk to that new neighbor, tell my sister that I’m praying for her, offer to watch a friend’s child while she goes to lunch with her mom.
Sometimes, the nudge pushes me outside of my comfort zone, like when the Holy Spirit said to me, “homeschool the kids,” or “let that person move in with you,” or “donate $x to this ministry.” If I have the unshakable assurance that God’s will is better than my own, I’ll do what he wants. In fact, my will becomes his will, so what he wants genuinely becomes what I want. If I second guess the Spirit, I always regret it.
Jesus loves me. He’s for me. I love him and want to do his will. I don’t need a leash.
- Do you need a leash?
- Is your faith strong enough for what your life involves right now?
- How can you work to improve your faith?
If you approach the Throne of Grace with confidence that Christ has redeemed you and you can talk with him about anything; if you approach with a pure heart, humility, and reverence, asking for more faith, stronger belief, a closer walk with Christ, and you do what the Holy Spirit impresses upon your heart, you will find what you seek. You will find power, joy, hope, truth, understanding, knowledge, and so much more.
“You will seek me and you will find me if you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13