If you’re reading this I would appreciate a quick comment. What book or book of the bible would you like me to explore next? I have some ideas, but I’d appreciate hearing from you.
As the writer of Hebrews nears the end of the letter we get the practical point of all that has been written before. One of the reasons for doubting that Paul wrote this letter is that Paul’s letters are generally divided evenly between theology and practical content. Hebrews spends 12 chapters making a theological case and only the final chapter on the practical application.
What do you fear? One of my greatest fears is upsetting or disappointing another person. When I let this fear take control I demonstrate my prideful and sinful nature because I’m almost always afraid of people or situations that don’t matter. I should be responding to each situation thinking about God and those closest to me first, but too often I don’t.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 ESV)
It has been a crazy week. Another school shooting reminds us that we are surrounded by people who are struggling to cope with day to day life. I haven’t heard any stories from this shooting, but we know from previous incidents that in the midst of the crisis there were heroes who took action to save the lives of others. In many cases they were followers of Jesus who took the words “I will not fear” seriously. They had their eyes on their God and an eternal reward. I hope in such a situation my response would be like theirs.
There is a much less dramatic example of the principle the writer is trying to communicate to us. I love the Olympics and since we were visiting grandkids I actually got to watch some of the events. I didn’t watch the finals of the men’s figure skating, but Nathan Chen’s story is one we can all learn from. You can find the full news story here. Chen was one of America’s hopes for gold. NBC had created multiple video segments to ensure we knew everything there was to know about this young man. There are no amateurs anymore and the pressure to promote the Nathan Chen brand was enormous. All these things and more apparently overwhelmed Chen. He skated a disastrous short program and ended up in 17th place. He was supposed to be first.
Forget about the expectations that everyone had placed on him to medal, he said to himself. Forget the mistakes in the team event and the mistakes in the short program. Forget it all. Forget everyone. – New York Times article
This is what Nathan decided overnight. He was not going to let fear or the expectations of others dictate how he skated. He was going to skate without fear. The result is that he went out and skated freely and landed six quad jumps in a single program, the first time that had been done. He didn’t win the gold, but he did move from 17th to 5th.
We have much more important things to do than attempting to win a gold medal at the Olympics. We all have family, friends, and neighbors who need to know and accept the love of Jesus. What will it take to get me to really believe that God is my helper and that there is nothing man can do to me?