Dirt has a way of coming back.
After working the dusty fields of the ranch, the farmer retires to his home for the day. He kicks off his boots on the porch just outside the front door. From there it is easier to slip back into them on the way out to the field in the morning. He heads to his master bathroom only a few steps away, yet it feels like more. He is exhausted.
He pulls the thin string dangling from the ceiling, and the light trips on. He looks in the mirror and is terrified by what he sees. After a hard day’s work in the wind and heat, a mixture of dirt and sweat formed a thick coat of mud on his face. What a mess! He gazes down at the sink, just about to turn on the aluminum water faucet. But instead, he turns and walks away. Tomorrow he’s going to get dirty again. So what’s the point?
Most of us enjoy a good shower to clean the body. It’s refreshing. But, we can also identify with the farmer who wonders to himself, “Why?” Dawn is only a few hours away and the grime of tomorrow will soon be reapplied.
In light of Jesus being superior to all things, the writer of Hebrews invites his readers to engage in immediate action:
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).
He is hearkening back to his opening statements, “In these last days, God has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1). In other words, Jesus is the divine Middleman, the Living Word of God, the radiant image of God’s nature, and superior to the angels. God spoke through Him and so we need to listen with the intent to believe.
Two nautical phrases are used in connection to our belief in Jesus. The first carries the idea of mooring a ship to a dock, “closer attention.” The second, “drift away,” refers to a ship that wanders past the harbor and out to sea. You can’t miss his point: Secure yourself to Jesus for He is the harbor of salvation.
Jesus brought the good news. Actually, He is the good news. To not take Him seriously is to let go of the gospel that fastens us to God. The idea of drifting is a not an immediate casting out to sea, but a subtle floating away. It begins with apathy and ends with disaster. “By rejecting the gospel, some have made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Tim. 1:19). Here in Hebrews, he is urging us to take hold of the gospel and anchor ourselves to Jesus. Don’t hear Him and walk away.
To this end, James tells us:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (Ja. 1:22-25).
If we desire to take Jesus seriously, we will pay close attention, listen deeply, and anchor ourselves to the gospel. Too often, we find ourselves doing the opposite. Don’t we? Either we don’t see the gravity of our sin or don’t see the divinity of the Son. In both cases, we loosen our grip and drift away from God.
Hear the Lord speak through Christ. Anchor yourself in Him.
This article was adapted from the study guide, Jesus: The Superior One, written by Jacob Abshire, Laura Jackson, Curtis Riddle, and Katie Van Dyke, and based on sermons by Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church.