Good morning my friends. As we conclude Hebrews 13 today we are considering the benediction or prayer of the writer for his readers. It contains a couple of things that can make a big difference in our perspective of our lives in relation to our God and our environment. Perspective is one of those topics I write about quite often because perspective determines almost everything we do in our life and how we react to things that happen to us or to those we care about. Perspective will most likely decide whether this is a good or bad day, whether we consider ourselves rich or poor, dumb or intelligent, useful or useless.
The benediction is a simple one:
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
The first thing that jumps out at me is the desire of the writer to see his readers following the will of God. His prayer is that God will equip them with everything good to make it possible for them to do his will. How many days, weeks, months, maybe even years have we lived without even considering God's will. It's a big subject and one we will not completely deal with in this forum but the reality is simple enough that we can at least grasp it here.
We died to ourselves and were raised alive IN Jesus Christ when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. This means that we forfeited our lives so that we could live for Jesus. In other words, his will replaced our will. We are his workers and servants in this place and our greatest desire should be to carry out his will. Compare these facts with our current attitude of giving Jesus a portion of everything we have. We have a ten percent mentality. We will give ten percent of our time, ten percent of our energy, ten percent of our income when, in fact, it is all his to do with whatever he wants according to his will. We don't own any of it any more; not ourselves, not time, not our possessions. How is that for changing your perspective? Our greatest desire should be to know and do the will of our Father.
The second thing to jump out at me is related to the first. The writer writes " and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever." There is a work going on in us constantly. It is taking place with every situation we face in our lives. It takes place with every person we encounter. It happens with every decision we make. The Spirit is working in us, changing us, growing us, maturing us. This prayer is asking that all these changes, this work going on in us would be things that would be pleasing to the Father, things that would make us more like Jesus. Our desires should be that Jesus would be glorified through us. This means that he would receive the praise and the credit for everything we do and say.
The question is, do we live with such an attitude and perspective; that Jesus would be glorified by everything we say and do? Again this is where the 10 percent mentality ruins us because we do not consider that we are living to glorify Jesus. We will glorify Jesus with words on Sunday as we worship but we do not see the connection to our words and actions outside of Sunday. If we can manage to get past the 10 percent mentality and cooperate with the work the Spirit is doing we may begin to see the growth and maturity we have been longing for. However, as long as we are living for ourselves and doing what we want, we will not see any further growth in us and often we start sliding back.
Something to consider as you move through your day and perhaps to ask yourself as you are faced with decisions today: Who am I living for, me or Jesus? Ask yourself that question every time you have to make a decisions today and see how even contemplating that perspective can change the decisions you make. And indeed, may your living glorify our Father today.