Pastor’s Pen by: Rev. Jonathan Carlson
Turn Back To God
It’s so contagious that it can instantly spread to others who come in contact with it. Once it infects someone, it immediately begins to find more people to infect. It is so destructive, that it weakens and even destroys anyone who becomes infected.
No, I’m not talking about coronavirus or the flu. I’m talking about a negative, complaining, doubting, and sinful attitude.
You may have seen God do great things in and through you at one time. But the past is past. Where is your heart now? The Israelites had also seen God perform great miracles to deliver them from bondage. But once life started to get hard for them in the desert, they got hot and thirsty and the journey seemed too hard and long, they became discouraged. One by one, they gave into complaining and spreading a negative, unbelieving attitude. Some even turned to worshiping idols rather than God.
“That is why the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest’” (Heb. 3:7-11).
A whole generation of people missed out on entering the beautiful land God wanted to give them because they turned away from Him. And God is warning us today that we may miss out on the eternal rest God wants to give us by hardening our hearts toward Him!
“You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” (Heb. 3:13).
We need to prioritize meeting together every week as a church and developing Christian friendships so we can encourage each other to keep growing in our relationship with Jesus (Heb. 10:25). Satan is called the father of lies (John 8:44). He tries to deceive you into thinking that a little sin won’t harm you. But a little sin leads to more and more– more deception, more hardening of your heart, more turning away from God. Satan isn’t messing around—he’s out to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). We’re in a spiritual battle, and it’s real! We need to stand and fight together.
“God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it…for only we who believe can enter his rest…so let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall” (Heb. 4:1,3,11).
The journey to heaven requires our cooperation. God delivered Israel from slavery, but they had to walk toward Canaan. Jesus delivers us from slavery to sin, but we have to walk worthy of him (Rev. 3:4). We need to keep running, so we don’t get disqualified from the prize (1 Cor. 9:26-27). He will lead us, but we must follow. He gives us grace, but we must be stewards of that grace (1 Cor. 4:1-2). We must make every effort to grow in grace so we don’t stay as spiritual babies (Heb. 5:11-6:1; 2 Pet. 3:17-18; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). We must press on toward the goal to win the prize (Phil. 3:12-14). God’s Word is a sword with two edges: it helps those who submit to it, but it judges those who do not obey it (Heb. 4:12-13; Mt. 7:24-27; Jam. 1:22-25).
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable” (Heb. 4:13).
If your heart has become hard… if a negative or complaining attitude has infected you… if you’ve allowed sin to enter in… turn back to God now! Don’t wait another second! The good news is, when we turn back to God, He welcomes us with open arms, and his grace is more than enough to cover us.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Heb. 4:16).