Journal Heb 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life….and imitate their faith.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls (as those who will have to give an account). Let them do this with joy—and not with groaning—for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Heb 13:7; 17; and 9
Observation: Obedience to an outside source…I am ok with being obedient to God, but to a leader, someone I know?
Analysis: It would be easy to just repeat these verses and say: “Ok, go to it” and not add in my mind, “fat chance of that.”
Why is that? In my case, I would confess I struggle with the confidence it takes to be obedient. Let me think: Fear is from mistrust; mistrust is from unbelief; fear leads to self-protection; self-protection is independence; independence is declaring “God, I will protect myself, I will do it myself” and thus, independence is not being dependent on God’s sufficiency and is the root of Sin. Feels different when I review the Sin facet (why do I deserve God’s wrath?) of the Jewel of the Gospel, doesn’t it? That’s what it means? Really?
I think these verses are dealing with the local church specifically, but I wonder if it shouldn’t also be a footnote to the assignment and expectation that God makes to a husband and wife?
I think of “leaders”: These two verses put an awful lot of pressure on them to follow God right; with exhibited results of their life and the way they conduct themselves with their spouse, their family, friends, and within the local church, etc.
And, when I consider them, look upon them, etc.…. the Word indicates I should imitate them. IMITATE them! IMITATE them? Really? Answer: Yes, really.
That kind of pressure can be overwhelming—if the attitude is “I am on display to gain or lose.”
What about if I extrapolate this to a husband/wife relationship? Husband: I am always being judged; I can’t win. Wife: I will submit to him when I find him trustworthy. Pastors and local leaders get the same attitude from the congregation.
So, how to address this? Same as always:
- Pastors and local church leaders: Put aside fear. Put your big boy pants on and cling desperately and humbly to the Gospel. Look in the mirror candidly and confess thoroughly and often. Aspire to be worthy of being imitated.
- Congregation: Put aside all fear and judgement leading to condemnation of the leadership. Put your big boy (and girl) pants on and cling desperately and humbly to the Gospel.
- Husbands: Put your big boy pants on and cling desperately and humbly to the Gospel. Display the servant leadership that Jesus displayed, with kindness, gentleness, and firmly face toward the Kingdom. Lead, even if you are by yourself.
- Wives: (you may have the hardest job of all) Put aside all fear, firmly repudiate it as sin, and cling desperately to the Gospel.
It is without wonder that the Writer reminds me that Jesus is unchanging, period. As in the post for Heb 3, I have to “Consider Jesus”—he is worthy of my trust; he is worthy to repudiate my fear (not be afraid); he is worthy to “take the long view” in my Christian walk—not to worry about today (do not be anxious) and trust in him in all things for tomorrow.
Prayer: Father, that idea of “putting my big boy pants on” is a vivid picture for me. It reminds me to be an adult, be in pursuit of maturity, resolutely chasing after you and to earnestly act with honor, avoiding shame.
Writing these things are good for me. It keeps me focused upon you. AMEN