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Saturday, February 8, 2014

You a little hesitant?

Hesitation - a delay due to uncertainty of mind or fear; a state of doubt.  How many times do we simply avoid doing something just because of our fear?  If you and I are honest, it may be more than most would think.  We avoid saying something when we feel impressed to do so, or don't act on what we know simply because we are reluctant to take that first step.  Hesitation is the cousin to procrastination.  While procrastination is the delayed action, hesitation is the uncertainty which sometimes is the cause of the delay. This hesitation can keep us from some pretty awesome stuff, though.  Especially as it deals with coming into the fullness of what God has planned for those who are bold enough (not overtaken by fear or doubt) to walk straight into his presence and spend some time getting to know him!

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25 MSG)

After explaining how the Old Testament tabernacle and subsequent temple were just symbols of the old "system" of worship, we find the invitation to enter boldly into what Christ accomplished by his sacrificial death.  If we were to read the two chapters just prior to this one, we'd see Christ's death accomplished the end to the old and the beginning of the new.  What had been off-limits because of our inability to "clean up" our sin under the "old" was totally declared "full access" under the new because did the "clean up" of our sin with the shedding of his blood on our behalf.  If such a provision is made on our behalf, then why are we so hesitant to enter into the fullness of all God has designed for us?  It might be fear, or even unbelief, but regardless of the "reason" we give, none stands in the face of this truth:  We are declared righteous in Christ Jesus.  We are made righteous in Christ Jesus. We stand righteous in Christ Jesus.  We cannot diminish our righteousness because in Christ Jesus we are fully and totally righteous!

Many of us spend a great deal of time being presentable on the outside. Each morning, we spend countless minutes in front of the mirror, grooming, applying this or that, putting each hair into place.  We pick out the clothes with care, discarding some things which makes us look to heavy, frumpy, or just doesn't fit the mood of the day.  We turn this way and that, getting a view of ourselves in the mirror and applying any last minute touches.  So, why is it we spend so much time on the outward appearance and almost forget to spend any time in the Word, prayer, or just simple worship?  Maybe it is because we think what can be "seen" is what gives people the impression we have life together even when we are falling apart on the inside!  I'd like to challenge that idea, though, because I believe what is on the inside, receiving frequent care and tender touches from Jesus will eventually trump whatever is on the outside!

What we can count on is the faithfulness of God regardless of our behavior, although it may not be as consistent as it should be - he is consistent.  His love extends beyond our inconsistencies, but to really "come into" that love we have to push past our hesitation and enter into his presence.  The delay in action on our part is often just because of our misperceptions - we don't understand how much God has done on our behalf to ensure we have access to him and can boldly enter into his presence.  We get a little insight into how we accomplish this when we consider the verse:  Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. First, we have to know what has been promised and then stand on it unwavering.  Then we have to believe with all our ability that God does what he says.  This may be the hard one since we have learned to NOT trust because trust has been violated by some person in our lives. Truth is, God cannot lie - it is against his nature.  It is impossible for him to not fulfill his promises because that would be equivalent to him telling a lie.

Probably one of the most overlooked portions of this "boldness" to enter into God's presence is the encouragement of others to help us develop this comfort of entering into all God has for us.  If we really see what is being said here, we will recognize it is about the company we keep.  Those who can spur us on are invaluable to helping us enter into all God has for us - moving us beyond our hesitation and into a place of bold, bounding faith.  The challenge to us is in being "inventive" in our encouragement - through loving actions and sacrificial deeds.  We don't do these to gain access to God - we engage in demonstrating God's love so others will develop a boldness to enter into the fullness of his love themselves.  There is no room for hesitation in us experiencing God's love.  We are beckoned into his love, provided a means by which we might enter into his love, and then we are given encouragement of others to help us maintain our consistency in experiencing his love.  Isn't it about time we enter into what God has taken such great pains to prepare on our behalf?  Just askin!