As a parent, I am often reminded of the various seasons of parenting. Some seasons are long, some are short. There are seasons that are hard, and there are seasons when there are little victories around every corner. We take each season with our children as it comes and move forward in grace.
The life of the Jesus follower is no different. As disciples, we press on, we pursue, and we grow deeper in our abiding with Jesus together in community with other believers – all under the authority and ministry of God’s Word. I am so thankful for a church that lives out the exhortation we find from Paul in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” In this season as a church, we are diving into the study of the book of Hebrews and reading through the Old Testament together this year. Over the past two months of this study, there are two responses that my heart continues to come back to over and over again: rejoice and repent.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. – Hebrews 1:1-4
This truth leads me to REJOICE that God has made Himself known. He did not hide His existence. Rather, He has revealed, announced, and declared Himself through the person of Jesus who is the image of the invisible God! This truth also leads me to REPENT. Is Jesus always superior in my life? If I am honest, there are other things – lesser glories – other than Jesus that often stir my heart’s affection and my mind’s attention. A next step of obedience for me has been daily asking God to show me areas of my life where He is not supreme, and to repent.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” – Hebrews 4:1-7
Jesus is the better rest. This truth leads me to REJOICE that Jesus is the ultimate rest my heart longs for so desperately. I do not have to earn my salvation. The work of the cross was final and forever. There is joy and rest in Christ alone. Yet, this truth also leads me to REPENT. In my sin, I often look for ways to provide my own rest, peace, and comfort instead of finding it in Jesus. A next step of obedience for me has been meditating on specific Scriptures that remind me to rest in Jesus. One example for me over the past few weeks has been Romans 15:4: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Church family, I am personally praying that through the study of the book of Hebrews, we would leverage every moment of this season to rejoice and repent as a response to God’s Word. Would you join me in this prayer and pursuit?
Austin Whittington serves on staff as our Kids Pastor. He and his family moved to Tri-Cities from Collierville, TN in spring 2016. Originally from Jackson, MS, Austin graduated from Mississippi College and has a Master of Christian Education from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He and his wife, Amy, have been married since 2007 and have two very energetic boys: Tyler and Jackson.