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Move Forward

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The only way to climb is to move forward, which, come to think of it, is the only way a Christian elevates in his or her spiritual walk.

We are in week 3 of studying the book of Hebrews. Jump in with us by downloading the weekly guide for spiritual growth and reading the article below.

It’s a sign usually seen at a gate: DO NOT BACK UP! SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE.

Going the wrong way, or in reverse, can bring about enduring consequences for your vehicle. It can do the same thing for your faith.

The writer of Hebrews exhorts his audience to press forward through the persecutions of their day. It was a hard time for new Jewish converts to Christianity, who were being harassed for their faith, and the temptation of their day was to throw the car in reverse. Or the chariot. Or the horse.

That, and standing still, waiting for the storm to pass, were natural inclinations. Trouble was, and is, natural inclinations don’t fit very well in a supernatural journey. And so, the writer of Hebrews tells his readers something the esteemed British leader Winston Churchill would echo several centuries later: “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”

A jet pilot faces the same choice. When he starts down the runway, gathering speed for takeoff, at a certain point the co-pilot says, “V1.” That’s code for the point at which the pilot is committed to taking off. V1 is the last point at which he can safely abort the takeoff. Whatever problem arises after that must be remedied in the air, whether that means an immediate circling around to land again or not. But stopping isn’t an option.

It's the same thing in the air. The way a plane stays airborne is by moving forward, so that the air flows over the wings and creates the imbalances in pressure that cause it to climb. If the plane doesn’t move forward fast enough, the forces working against it — drag, which pulls it backward, and gravity, which pulls it downward, soon prevail — with dire consequences. The only way to climb is to move forward, which, come to think of it, is the only way a Christian elevates in his or her spiritual walk.

Hebrews 6:1-3 puts it this way:

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

All those things are Basic Christianity 101.

I remember being a frustrated young Christian. I was born again, with great determination that I wouldn’t be the kind of Sunday-only Christian I saw surrounding me — that, instead, I would belong to God 24-7-365. But I kept falling short and started to become concerned about my spiritual infancy. And one day, I cried out to God about being a baby Christian.

Immediately, the voice of the Lord calmed my spirit. “There is no sin in being a baby Christian,” He said. “The sin is in remaining one.”

The five verses following the text here are chilling, but no so much that the encouragement fails to resume in verse 9: “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.”

Our focus must ever be on the things that have to do with salvation — faithfully working for the Master, not in the sense that we earn anything from God, because it’s a gift. But verse 10 says that “God will not forget your work” and verse 12 pushes us not to be “lazy.” As James tells us, faith without works is dead, but the faith that works through love, as Paul writes in Galatians 5:6, propels us forward.

The more we go forward in this chapter, the more we climb. That’s because the focus becomes less about us and more about God. It’s a compelling way to build an argument, going from the less certain (our halting, one-step-forward-two-steps-back walk) to the absolute certain (the promise of an All-Powerful God Who cannot lie).

Here’s the thing that should give us confidence about moving forward: Nothing God has in store for us is behind us. The blessing is in the second mile, and that is only found after moving beyond the first. The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord, and steps are about putting one foot in front of the other. It’s a process. So, be encouraged: In following the Lord, our best is yet to come!

 

Keep diving deeper into the book of Hebrews with us by downloading our weekly guide

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iDisciple
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