Summary: Finding grace to help when I need it most in the REST that God offers me TODAY by trusting in His Word.
In his book, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which was later made into a movie starring Will Smith, Chris Gardner tells of his childhood memories and how he and his sister Ophelia coped with being poor.
“Ophelia and I lived vicarious lives as we played a game we made up with the household’s (Spiegel) catalog. We called it ’this-page-that-page,’ and it was played simply by flipping randomly to a page and then claiming all the treasures pictured on it as mine, or hers. ‘Look at all my stuff,’ I’d say after flipping to my page. ‘Look at my furniture – all those clothes are mine!’ and Ophelia would follow, flipping to her page, singing, ‘Look at my stuff, my nice stove and my jewelry!’ The Spiegel catalog must have been three hundred pages or more, so we never tired of this-page-that-page.”
“In the dead of winter one year, we changed the game in recognition of Christmas. When it was Ophelia’s turn, she flipped to a page and smiled her big-sister smile, announcing that this page was for me, pointing to all the stuff she was giving me for Christmas. ‘I’m giving you this page. All this is yours.’”
“Then it was my turn. I flipped to a page and exclaimed, ‘I’m giving you this page for Christmas. This is all yours!’ I wasn’t sure what made me happier, getting a page all for me or having one to give.’”
Those who follow Christ can honestly say, when they read the pages of the Bible, “Look at all my stuff! All of these promises are mine! Everything that God says I have – I have!”
That’s an amazingly uplifting and encouraging thought!
We’re in the Christmas series, “Finding Calm in the Chaos” based on the letter to the Hebrew Christ followers of the First Century. They were second generation believers whose lives were very chaotic due to the fact that they were being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Consequently they were considering turning back to their prior Old Testament way of relating to God - a religion based on God’s message received through prophets, angels, the priesthood and the law.
So far, in chapters one, two and three of Hebrews, we’ve seen the writer build an airtight case against turning back since Christ is “better than” all of the Old Covenant messengers. God’s message through Jesus is better than the prophets, better than the angels, better than human priests and better than Moses the lawgiver.
Jesus is also better than anything you or I could turn back to when our lives become chaotic and we’re tempted to relax our energies following Christ.
In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about this application to this information in Hebrews. You may think that just because you haven’t seriously been thinking about turning back that you don’t need this stuff.
But...have you been slowing down in your pursuit of doing God’s will?
If you are less enthusiastic about following Christ today than you were a month ago, or a year ago, then the message of the Hebrew letter may be just the thing for you! The chaos in your life may have caused you to settle for complacency, it may have sidetracked your spiritual vigor. And lukewarmness in your spiritual life – living at a spiritual standstill - is just as problematic as thoughts of turning back.
You say, “Then where do I find the strength to keep moving forward in the midst of my tests? Where can I find calm in my chaos?”
The theme of the Hebrews letter is Jesus and we’ve been re-emphasizing the fact that He is the ultimate source of calm in our chaos!
That’s one of the reasons I chose the letter to the Hebrews for our Christmas series this year. Since Jesus is the source of calm in our chaos He is the catalyst to renewed enthusiasm and zest for life if you have lost spiritual steam.
Read the theme of Hebrews and our theme for this series out loud with me,
“Keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” Hebrews 12:2a (NLT)
Don’t ever take your focus off of Jesus. He’s the focal point of our faith from start to finish.
Christmas is all about God’s gift of Jesus. God came to us “in person.” This time He didn’t send a messenger. He came Himself! Not a prophet, nor angel, nor priest, nor lawgiver. Therefore we celebrate Christ’s birth, and that’s fitting. But we also need to apply the truths associated with His becoming man to be our Savior.
What does God becoming man in Jesus mean to us?
Today in Hebrews chapter four we come to the very heart of finding calm in our chaos. Here the author of the letter writes about “rest.” The key word in this chapter is “rest.” When my life is chaotic or when the world around me is full of chaos, where do I go for rest? Not physical rest, I can get that easily enough, but rest for my mind, my heart and my soul. Inner rest. The rest that brings deep, abiding inner peace.