Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stiff Necked Christian

Greatness. Importance. We  align ourselves with these terms in order to gain success and fulfillment. What determines this position is sometimes beyond us. We follow a standard that was set generations before in hopes of gaining ground, but then are puzzled when we fail. What are we failing and what exactly are we trying to obtain? 

I like rules. Unlike some I find order and precise direction unquestionable. For some this makes being around me easy. I will do what you say without question. For others this just does not make sense. How could I go on doing things without knowing why? I am pretty insane with my exactness and it is rather annoying for some. Ya, sometimes it is good to stick to your guns but when is it important to back down? When are following the rules just rules and not principles?

The writer of Hebrews had a major task. He had to convince the Jewish Christians that it was OK to set aside the rituals and services in the tabernacle. It was OK to stop giving offerings in the form of livestock. No more did they have to go through ceremonies to cleanse their sin. All of it was now obsolete. How do you remove this from someone's culture? How does one untie their heritage and step into a new way of life? I can sit here and say that these Christians were stiff necked and thick headed for being afraid of their Jewish accusers. I have no right because I too have found it hard to get out of today's rituals. The ceremonies that my forefathers created in order to show their adoration towards God in worship, are engrained in my head. Ways of pointing out sin creep into my mind constantly, making it hard to not judge another believer. I know all of the rules of my church, but do I know the principles behind what my church was founded upon?

We have to focus on the kingdom of God. That means we need to set aside the beliefs we have been told in regards to our earthly "sanctuaries" and "rituals." We have to understand why they were put in play in the first place and then evaluate whether this still aligns with God's heavenly kingdom. For some this is freeing and brings life. For others being freed feels like falling and being out of control. It takes a faith stronger than our earthly sights, to believe in something grander than our eyes can see. 

All of the grand ideas that the writer speaks of should melt our hearts. Christ's sacrifice, His redeeming love, the power of the second covenant, is where we should find security. Christ, once and for all, paid the price. All we have to do is daily remember and commit ourselves to Him. I have to remind myself of this every single day.

It took me a while to get past the set ideas in my mind. Even when I had some idea of what God was calling me to do, I still found myself accusing others. Even when I thought I understood love I was stiff necked and selfish. It took time and patience to unwind my habits and ways. Slowly I became less paranoid of someone else's motives and sin. Slowly I became less consumed in my own sin and gave it to Christ. Painfully slow, I learned what it meant to fill my heart, soul and mind with Christ. I know it is easy to ease the conscience of sin with rituals, but this is not how one rids their being of it. Christ is the way, the truth and the LIGHT. Trust me, it took me a LONG TIME to understand this. I am one of those stiff necked Jewish Christians. 

I hope that in the end these new Chrisitians finally got it. Actually I am certain that some did because where would I be today, right?

-Hebrews 9

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