I don’t know about you, but I get lost in my own train of thoughts a lot. Like the cascade of a rushing waterfall, my thoughts empty themselves into the reservoir of “what if’s,” “ands,” and “buts,” I’ve been contemplating for the past few days, weeks, months, years, you name it. And before I can stop their terror, the destruction is already done; the mind soggy as cereal in an overflowing bowl of milk; the emotions plummeting in their lack of normalcy; the heart frazzled with confusion. But we aren’t the only ones to feel this way, are we?
With a quick skim of the Bible characters in all of their glory, it is evident that the people of God held captive by the wrong voices isn’t a new facade. And it’s addicting, isn’t it; to listen to your own mind? But that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you’d give anything to make those voices stop. Yet, in order to do this, we’d have to stop and actually listen to the One who is speaking and not just our own problems we create and play over and over again in our mind. Because you, my friend, are the one in charge of those thoughts and scenarios that may never actually happen in the first place.
The witnesses of Hebrews 12 also struggled with this sight of perception. And contrary to the name of the book (He-Brews…Maybe some tea? 😉 ), the challenge that the Author faced (possibly Paul, but we aren’t sure), was due to the condition, questions, and fear of the present Christians. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of each chapter (I encourage you to read it here or watch the Bible Project here), the book sought to elevate Jesus Christ as the Supreme Ruler, but also to encourage those in persecution to have faith despite their uncertainty and pain. Perhaps then, He too asks us to accept and apply those points today as well.
In a challenge to follow Jesus, Hebrews asks us a very simple question, followed by an even simpler command: To whom are you listening when Jesus is the one who is speaking?
Throughout His consistent and compassionate love, Jesus is reminded to us as the ultimate High Priest. So though we may face confusion, chaos, and even discipline from Him, we can also stand firm if we rest in the promises of who He is and how He cares to take care of us.
Today, my father set me aside because he could tell that I was allowing my anxiety, fear, worry, and confusion of unknowns and uncontrollable circumstances to eat me alive and I think about how Jesus as our Heavenly Father, also disciplines us in the same way not to harm us, but to protect us from our own self-destruction. Like Hebrews encourages us to be on watch for other Believers who are struggling, it is ultimately our decision to decide who or what we give control/power to in our mind.
As my earthly father saw me struggling, He reminded me of this. That although adulting and walking the path of my Savior is hard, God has given me a beautiful mind that does not deserve the ringer of thoughts I often put it through. And like the Christians of Hebrews, we have not reached a physical mountain of God’s presence that cannot be touched (like in the Old Testament), but the city of a living God within us who longs for us to listen to His voice (Hebrews 12:14-24).
“Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain” (Hebrews 12:25-27, NLT).
Did you read that last line? God’s going to remove every shakable thing and replace it with unshakable ones. Those overanalyzing thoughts? Poof! Those obsessive reminders? Gone. But the promises of His truth? Forever stable.
Listen to the One who is speaking my friend, and watch what you’re giving your power to.
What are you struggling with listening to this week? I’d love to hear from you.