“It seems odd to have to say so, but too much religion is a bad thing. We can’t get too much of God, can’t get too much faith and obedience, can’t get too much love and worship. But religion—the well-intentional efforts we make to “get it all together” for God—can very well get in the way of what God is doing for us. The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing and will do for us. Jesus is the revelation of that action. Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus. Our part in the action is the act of faith.” (Eugene Peterson, the Message, Introduction to Hebrews)
“But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents’ worth. We add on, we supplement, we embellish. But instead of improving on the purity and simplicity of Jesus, we dilute the purity, clutter the simplicity. We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way!” (Peterson)
“That’s when it’s time to read and pray our way through the letter to the Hebrews again, written for “too religious” Christians for “Jesus-and” Christians. In the letter, it is Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood. In our time it is more likely to be Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Buddha. This letter deletes the hyphens, the add-ons. The focus becomes clear and sharp again. God’s action in Jesus. And we are free once more for the act of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way.” (Peterson)
It’s time we evaluate our hearts, minds and souls to see if faith in Christ alone is obviously expressed in our behaviors each day.
- Do we really believe in God?
- Do we believe in His Son?
- Do we really believe what God has done, is doing and will do in our lives or not?
- Do we really believe what we say we believe about God really real? What is the measure of our faith?
- Is our faith growing or is it stagnate, only used when we come to the end our ourselves?
- Is our faith obvious to us and to others?
This evaluative questioning is the path to getting out of the way but ON the way to Truth living. God’s Holy Spirit will help us greatly in our evaluation of obvious faith in God, the Father, Jesus, Son of God, with obedience to His Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 1, The Message
1-3 Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!
The Son Is Higher than Angels
3-6 After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, far higher than any angel in rank and rule. Did God ever say to an angel, “You’re my Son; today I celebrate you” or “I’m his Father, he’s my Son”? When he presents his honored Son to the world, he says, “All angels must worship him.”
7 Regarding angels he says,
The messengers are winds,
the servants are tongues of fire.
8-9 But he says to the Son,
You’re God, and on the throne for good;
your rule makes everything right.
You love it when things are right;
you hate it when things are wrong.
That is why God, your God,
poured fragrant oil on your head,
Marking you out as king,
far above your dear companions.
10-12 And again to the Son,
You, Master, started it all, laid earth’s foundations,
then crafted the stars in the sky.
Earth and sky will wear out, but not you;
they become threadbare like an old coat;
You’ll fold them up like a worn-out cloak,
and lay them away on the shelf.
But you’ll stay the same, year after year;
you’ll never fade, you’ll never wear out.
13 And did he ever say anything like this to an angel?
Sit alongside me here on my throne
Until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.
14 Isn’t it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive salvation?
May my own faith grow to be obvious to you, to others and to me. You are the Way, Truth and Life. You created all and you are in all. Your plan to save us was also created from the beginning and completed in you, dear Jesus. Thank you for saving my soul, transforming my behavior, helping me through troubles, while growing my faith—the only obvious way to walk with You.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen. I believe.