Jesus is the Greater Hope to the End

With the advent of the TV, computers, spectator sports, desk jobs and early retirement, we’re sitting down more than ever before in history. Researchers calculate the average person sits 9.3 hours a day, which is more time than the average person spends sleeping (7.7 hours). So that means 17 hours a day we are on our backs or behinds.

Laziness is one of those undiscussed sins. However, the author of Hebrews unashamedly discusses it. He particularly warns against spiritual laziness. Laziness is a form of pride that says, “I don’t care what others (including God) want me to do I am going to do what I want and sit right here.” Laziness is a regression of faith.

“Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” – Hebrews 6:9-12

A church or community of faith becomes lazy when we allow erroneous teaching to infiltrate the church and do nothing about it. While the church may have started strong, it slowly slipped into passiveness and procrastination. Spiritual laziness is not caring about the wonderful promises we have now and later through our salvation and not protecting or promoting it to the next generation.

The best way to progress in your faith and prevent spiritual regression is to serve one another. Help one another to stand, exercise your minds, and fight for truth. That takes effort, but in the long run it will guard you and the community from spiritual lethargy. Serving one another is a sure remedy, but not the sole remedy.

The author of Hebrews has no intention to scare his brothers and sisters into changing, but to assure them of the greater hope that is to come. Better things are to come. Better things for those who wait and hope in God’s promises from now until the end of time.

Jesus is a greater hope than my hope in leisure, ease, or unmet desires. Jesus not only redeems our souls from the pit, he also redeems all aspects of our lives—our time, our attitude, and our work ethic. Look to Christ and invite him to redeem your life and to redeem your time.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What are some ways Christians have become faith-lazy today? What are some examples of spiritual regression you’ve witnessed in the church?
  • What are the marks of spiritual “progression?
  • What can lead one to lack patience or lose assurance of hope until the end?
  • What “better things” or promises we will inherit in the end?
  • Who are some biblical examples worth imitating and that encourage you to have faith and patience to the end?
  • How does serving one another often remedy spiritual laziness?
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busyness is laziness

How does busyness affect our spiritual lives?

Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It is filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s actions. It is taking charge.

Busyness has to do with activity, and spirituality is not the absence of activity. You either enter into what God is doing or you don’t. A busy person is a lazy person because they are not doing what they are supposed to do.

Eugene Peterson, Subversive Spirituality. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co. Grand Rapids, MI. 1997. p.237

meet the taters

The Tater’s family are a memorable family. I was introduced to the highly dysfunctional Tater family and their ongoing saga through Travis Huseby at Checkpoint Bible Camp. Here is a glimpse of the Tater Family:

Uncle Common Tater

He is no common Tater!? Common has the gift of gab. He makes a living in broadcasting and is good at communicating. He is certainly a chatter box outside the press box. He always has a story to share, and people are interested in hearing him ramble about random happenings.

When you get to know Common you will quickly observe that he does a lot of talking, but not a lot of walking. His bark is louder than his bite. In fact, he is a Sweet Tater, never saying anything bad about anyone. He is certainly a people pleaser. Common could be a mighty spokemen for God’s glory, rather he is ashamed of the gospel of Christ [Romans 1:16-17; 10:14-17].

Speck Tater

Speck is the father of the family. He is intelligent, dedicated to his job, pays the bills, but is not particularly outgoing on the home front. He is the dad you see on the sidelines. Speck is not doing much to support his Tater’s, much like his father Hesi Tater. He is one dud of a spud.

Speck, as Pa-Tater, needs to get off the bench and into the game before time runs out and life has past him by. His family is his most important responsibility. His greatest impact as a father is to train up his children in the ways of God [Proverbs 22:6], and modeling Christ’s through his loving and committed marriage. This cannot be done by passive spectating [Ephesians 6:4], but by active husbandry and priority parenting.

Ima Tater

Ima is the decorated daughter of the family. She is no darling. She models and mimics the world. Her friends often sway her opinions. Roe Tater, her best friend, switches boyfriends weekly, complains about not having enough, and brags about spoiled habits. She is swoon by current fads, trends, and teen idols [aka: Idol Tater].

An idol is anything you worship, and what we worship we become. An idol can be a material possession, a feeling, a person of interest, a place of comfort, or anything that captivates your heart. The Bible says to imitate Christ [1 Corinthians 11:1], and to destroy all idols before they destroy you [Isaiah 40-49].

Agi Tater

Agi is the always angry son who must have inherited the spicy Irish Tater genes. He tends to mash, scalp, or fry any Tater that gets in the way of his plans. His parents blame his bad behavior on Iri Tator, a bullish friend at school.

Agi is self-centered, never wrong, and a big-headed boaster. When things are not going his way you will surely hear about it. Can Agi gain control of his anger? Anger itself is not sinful [Ephesians 4:22ff]. In fact, anger is a God-given emotion that can be used for glorious means in defeating sin and choosing righteousness. Followers of Christ can learn how to control their anger [Titus 2:11-15].

Regurgi Tater

We all call him, Reggie. He is the younger brother [aka: Tater Tot] who tends to tattle tail. He hurls up information quicker than a baby spews up their bottle. Reggie’s feed off of gossips and lies for his own satisfaction [1 Peter 2:1]. The tongue is like a wild fire. A little spark can do a lot of damage [James 3:1-12].

In the Scripture the word often referring to regurgitation is meditation. The Bible says as followers of Christ we must meditate on God’s Word by: reciting it [Psalm 119:11], reviewing it [2 Timothy 2:15], and renewing our minds by it [Romans 12:1-12]. When we think about God’s Word and chew on it we are reminded that other people are created in God’s image and defaming them offends God.

Gravi Tater

Gravi is the mama of the spud bunch. She is large and in charge. If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. Big mama has control and stay out of her way. Everyone agrees that she takes after her father, Dick Tater. She can certainly be a Sweet Tater when she wants to be. Even as her family is falling apart, she finds a way to contribute by butting herself into everybody’s business. She could be using her magnetizing clout to bring everyone together in unity [Ephesians 4:1-16].

The Tater family does have serious issues. If we were honest we probably see some of the Tater family in our families. My suggestion is that the Tater’s go to Counsel Tater [aka: Pastor Ed U. Tater]. Their they will discover the root issue is sin. Sin is like a bruise or spoil that needs to be cut off or it will infect the the Tater if not the batch of Tater’s. Unfortunately our sin affects others around us, especially those in our immediate family or church [cf. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12]. Deal with sin swiftly by lovingly confronting it and helping in the change process. Through God’s grace the Tater family can begin to learn from their Creator how to live in His image [Genesis 1:26-27].