Consider Jesus

I’m in this great Bible study group.

We just finished studying Revelation. Now we are into Hebrews. Yeah: we try to take it easy…

I lead our recent discussion of Hebrews, chapter 3. In verse 1, the writer encourages the readers to “consider” Jesus, to think about Him, to “fix” their thoughts on him.

Then the author goes off on some tangential comparison of Moses and Jesus. And just when we get used to that discussion, he tell us that our courage and confidence are proofs we are in the family of God.

Then he goes off on another direction, discussing those terrible wilderness wanderers who were always questioning and disobeying God to the point He said, in effect: “No more. You aren’t going to the Promised Land. No rest for you!”

So what’s that all about?

Well, we discussed how in our lives, we often feel unrest. And we circled back around to that notion that we need to have courage and confidence.

Why did Israel grumble and then rebel? ‘Cause they didn’t have confidence in God’s good intention toward them. They didn’t have courage to trust Him. So they hardened their hearts in anger, took matters into their own hands, and rebelled.

You’ve got to be kidding me?

I mean, as the writer points out in verse 16, these were the same folks that Moses led out of Egypt.

And how did Moses lead them out? Well, with about a zillion miracles, not to mention the passover deal, the waters parting, the cloud by day and the flame by night…. You get the point.

How could these people have lost confidence in God’s goodness, complained, rebelled, and, eventually, lost their rest?

They forgot to remember.

They didn’t consider what God had done. They didn’t think about how much he loved them and would protect and take care of them, based on his past actions. They didn’t fix their minds on the past.

And that’s what happens with me. I forget Jesus. I forget the past. I forget the cross.

What better proof of God’s good intention towards me than the cross?

And when I forget, and life caves in; I grumble, I rebel, I sin. If not outwardly, inwardly.  I lose confidence in His goodness.

Then I lose my rest. I feel twisted and knotted and angry and frustrated and depressed inside.

So, my Bible study group asked: how do we avoid the same mistake as the wilderness wanderers? How do we fix our thoughts on Jesus? How do we consider Him in the midst of turmoil?

We thought of two things:

  1. When we feel that loss of rest, try and look at the cross. Try and remember Jesus dying for us. When we do that, we realize we don’t need whatever we are losing (a job, a friend, someone’s respect…) in order to be worth something. Our worth is measured in the price paid for us: the blood of the Son.  And we can have courage that he who laid his life down for us will surely take care of us. Somehow we felt that focusing on Jesus at such times would help gain perspective.
  2. We also talked about the need to stop during the day and just refocus on Jesus. My pastor told me once that he stopped for prayer three times a day, cause if he didn’t, his mind would just wander away and the cares of the day would consume him. I’ve tried it before. I think I need to try it again.

Any other ideas on how to consider Jesus? Please share them!

Dear Lord: Thank you for that great Bible study this week. Sometimes I feel like we are touched when we are together, feel some conviction, then walk back into our lives… unchanged. We were all pretty aware that we need to think about you and remember what you did for us more often. Can you help each of us do that? Thanks. Amen.

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8 thoughts on “Consider Jesus

  1. Thanks for a good post that helped me remember Jesus, the cross, what actually matters.

    As for Piper, I remember one of the younger serious people in the PCA church we attended for a while conducted a discussion class on Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. I picked up a copy of the book in the narthex, took it home to look over, and found it so poorly written I couldn’t get through the first chapter. I told the guy facilitating the class I couldn’t participate because I wasn’t able to get past the author’s stylistic flaws sufficiently to critique his ideas.

    Oh well. I like your writing.

    Cheers from Stepford,

    C.

  2. You’re going to get me to read Piper yet, aren’t you? 😛

    Longing: You know, after you’ve been a Christian for 30 odd years, there isn’t much new you haven’t heard or read, but Piper continues to challenge me. I recommend Desiring God as often as I can. It does have a specific theological slant (Reformed), but it also presents “Christian hedonism,” a take on the Christian life that was really revolutionary for me.

  3. Good points. So let me see if I can add one of my own. 🙂

    I find the opposite perspective helps me. I try to focus not on what God has done for me in the past (which is a lot). Where I try to focus is on what God has promised. Paul was fond of using the “run the race” metaphor, and it’s something I find useful.

    When I think about what God has done for me in the past, my tendency is to say, “well, what have you done for me LATELY?”

    When I focus on the eternal promises of God, I tend not to get as wrapped up in myself.

    Longing: Good point. I think John Piper’s Future Grace takes a similar tact (it’s been a while since I read it). He ties the two together: our hope in future grace is based on past actions (which, of course, Israel forgot about). There’s also a psychological reason to focus on the cross in terms of getting perspective re who we are, where our satisfaction lies. I touched on it in the two suggestions in the post, but it’s worth fleshing out in a post. Yea, something else to write about!!!

  4. I’m always amazed at how much God did–how He really showed off both His power and His love–to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Yet they were whining and complaining within moments of freedom. How foolish!

    But then I remember that I do the same thing. All the time.

    So my thing is to recollect, as often as I can, the amazing things God’s done in my life. My Red Sea moments. Things that demonstrated in showy, loving ways that He is for me. Doing this helps me to praise Him from a part of myself that isn’t engaged otherwise, and to do it for no other reason than because He is good. Not just good in general (which He is), but good in a way I’ve personally experienced.

  5. Hey, L.!! I had a similar train of thought as well from yesterday’s post. 🙂

    Addressing the two thoughts at the end of the post:

    #1 Matthew 22:37-40 & Galatians 5:22-24, are the “life verses” that sum it up for me; respectively they define how I am to respond to God our Lord and others as well as telling how we’ll know that we are aligned with God’s Holy Spirit and, His will.

    #2 Heidi, just echoed a sentiment my pastor shared with myself and a few others a coupe of days back; take or make the time, to approach The Lord, and talk with Him. Maybe it means turning off the radio while driving into work, or using 45 minutes of lunch hour to eat and 15 to pray to God.

    Just some ideas to throw out there.

    Grace and peace be with you all.

  6. I so agree with you in this post.

    I know wandering and pondering are so related.
    My RX is to just stop.

    Stop what got me wandering. Being a mom of teens and 7 yr old, full time employee, wife, and church leader there is no stopping until I crash in my bed at 10.

    But, I’ve learned that I need to take a “stop” every once in awhile, grab my IPOD with worship music and go walking alone and end up at local coffeehouse and enjoy time with HIM and me.

    Trust me it takes alot of effort.

    Its gets me rejuvenated and relaxed.

    Prayerfully I get mini- “stops” a long the way

    Longing: Pray for me re those mini-stops. I need them!! Also, I have found myself spending precious time online commenting on or writing posts (it’s so fun!) that I am forsaking time in the Word. Bad girl!

  7. This is a good post- thanks for shaing…I needed it too. An interrelated part of how to “stay focused” came to mind..which is also in Hebrews by the way. (Someone told me the whole letter is a letter of encouragment to remain faithful in the mindst of trials)…that related aspect is the “exhort (encourage) one another every day…that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness if sin.”(ch3:13)

    In other words…we need the regular encouraging of others and we need their encouragement in our lives…how often?….daily (or at least more than a hi and by on Sunday @ church)… genuine fellowship with another Christian who is in fellowship with God goes along way to countering the hardness and deception of sin….even to some extent if it is over the internet (blog/e-mail,etc).

    Longing: Thanks as usual for stopping by DM. Like you said, Hebrews is filled with commands like this: here’s how great Jesus is; now think about who He is while you are suffering.

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