Theme of the Week: Saying Yes to Jesus
Bible Verse: “ … let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:2b-3a
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1-12:3
A student recently quipped that we can have many loyalties, but only one allegiance.
I’ve sat with conspiracy theorists and talked on the phone with those too afraid to venture out amongst the “plague” tainted public. I’ve heard cries for a stance on George Floyd, unmarked graves, critical race theory, LGBTQ+, Christian nationalism, and storming the capital. Such conversations frequently provide a free audit of our loyalties and our allegiance.
I have a stance, and each issue matters. However, my unsettling conviction is they are usually a smoke screen. If churches announce a gathering or group focused on one of these issues, the room is filled. But, if we call a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance, believers are conspicuously elsewhere. We share articles and videos, but we don’t pray and obey. We fight for justice as long as it doesn’t interfere with our investments, vacations and our next catatonic media binge. Many have confused our loyalties with our allegiance.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”
God is building a church that will take up His cross and experience His resurrection life. The Spirit is whispering and there is a surge of believers who are listening and saying “yes.” Amongst us are many who have faithfully walked this way for decades.
Our causes and loyalties matter, but they must not become our allegiance. Jesus shows the way. He engages the politics and culture of His time without losing His primary “yes” to Father and Kingdom. When pressed to take a side in the war of Middle Earth, Tolkien’s Treebeard famously quipped, “I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side…”. That sums up Jesus perfectly.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12). The difficult days in which we find ourselves cannot be ignored. We can and will discuss our loyalties and the things that divide us. We must do so as people uniformly committed to Christ our King and the life of love He calls us to. That is God’s design for His people. This blueprint becomes reality as we say “yes” to King and Kingdom for the first time and the thousandth time. He loves us, He gave himself for us, and He’s inviting us to eternal life.
Prayer: Lord, we’re often blind to our true allegiance. Heal our eyes. We often seek to make you the celebrity sponsor for our dearest causes inside. Graciously point that out today. Help us to respond first to you. Renew our lives and our churches. Renew our land. Give us the grace to seek You first. Teach us to listen and obey. Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Forever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: Consider the difference between spiritualizing avoidance of key issues of our times (eg: we just need to pray) and insisting on our churches being places where we discuss and engage the issues of our time from a place of Christ-centered allegiance.
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