• A college student’s Philosophy professor argued to the whole class that Christians made Satan and are therefore responsible for evil in the world.
• A cashier was screamed at being called a racist and threatened with a lawsuit simply because she made a mistake and charged a slightly higher price on an item.
• On his first day of school, a 12 year old boy’s class was asked about which pronoun each student wanted to be identified by.
All of those anecdotes are 100% true because they happened either to one of my children or a neighbor.
But, the most outlandish story comes from Texas where The Temple of Satan is preparing to preserve their member’s right to an abortion by making the case that the “Satanic Abortion Ritual” is protected by religious liberty laws. These are alarming headlines.
As a father of eight, I battle fear for how my children will fare in a an increasingly polarized and anti-Christian society. Will they stand firm and not abandon their faith in Jesus Christ? Will they be able to rise above fear and intimidation and provide an answer for the hope that is within them to the many people who are lost in all of this upheaval?
My thoughts turn to the book of Hebrews where the Christians being written to were facing far worse circumstances. For example, some were jailed and some had their property taken away just because they were Christians.
The writer exhorts his audience to endure. But he does this in a way that might seem impractical and even tone deaf to us today.
What The Hebrews Did Not Hear
What they did NOT hear was a political strategy for fighting Rome to stop the persecution. Nor, did they hear a simple 5-Step plan (with alliteration) to deal with the troubles of persecution (not that those are not bad things to do but they certainly are not what he says).
What The Hebrews Heard
Instead, he pleads with them to, “pay close attention to what you have heard.” (Heb. 2:1). Then, he passionately reminds them of what they had heard. He goes into great detail about how much greater Jesus is than the angels, the prophets (even Moses!); he is the final sacrifice, the perfect high priest who continually intercedes for us in heaven.
To disturbing practical problems, the writer gives a theology lesson. Who in these days would value that that?
Are We Listening?
If Hebrews were a Sunday school class, imagine the conversation on the ride home from church. A teenager pipes up: “Can you believe it?! Like, he spent like the whole Sunday School talking about Jesus as a sacrifice and high priest stuff. I mean, totes, but man, I am freaking about the friends I’m losing after liking that tweet.”
Is Jesus Enough?
This gets right to the problem we have with our problems. We struggle to see how Jesus is the solution. We struggle to even take time to really look at Jesus; who he was and what he did for us. Doing that is often the overlooked key to enduring trials—says the author of Hebrews. Not because it works like a magic fu-fu, but because an intentionally faithful pursuit of the person and work of Jesus will increasingly fill us with joy and gratitude that causes us to more and more choose obedience (endurance) over sin (failure).
We always want something. We are always trying to get something from our experiences or other people. What are our problems other than things that get in the way of pursuing what we want? So, if what we constantly want is Jesus, then we can always have him, no matter what. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Jesus is superior in value to anything we gain, lose, or face in this life. Is it our aim to remember (and rediscover, if necessary) that and to faithfully proclaim it to ourselves and to our children every day?
NOTE: I am excited to announce a special teaching we have designed to encourage and equip men in this very pursuit. We call it, “Enduring Men in Troubled Times”. This is a simple look at keeping Jesus in view, why it is important, and how to actually do it in your home. There will be discussion and practical application. Please consider this for your men’s group. For more information click here.