The writer of Hebrews speaks of 3 things in life to avoid as we strengthen ourselves for this run in life so that we can find true fulfillment and learn to experience joy in all things. In fact, as we recognize that as Christians we are a “team”….the writer exhorts us to not only avoid these things but also to help our brothers and sisters in Christ avoid them as well. Let’s look at the first two:
THE FIRST THING IN LIFE TO AVOID is missing the opportunities for God’s grace. Hebrews 12:15 tells us, “See that no one falls short of the grace of God”.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (TNIV)
1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
How do we miss opportunities for God’s grace? The more you mature as a Christian, the more you should realize that all good things in your life come from God.
I heard it put this way so beautifully:
“By God’s grace, some of you have made it through difficult circumstances in your life because God was watching over you. God has especially equipped you to reach out to others coming from similar situations with God’s love.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (TNIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. By God’s grace, some are born into good families and never lacked anything. God did not give us these opportunities so we could be selfish and arrogant. These opportunities are given to us so that we might be able share our good will with others.
By God’s grace, some are able to know God at an early age because they are taught about our Father from an early age. Paul said Timothy knew the Scriptures from infancy. It was God’s grace to Timothy that his mother and grandmother equipped him so that he was ready to join Paul at a young age.
The apostle Paul understood that it was only by God’s grace that he was what he was. God was with him as he endured so many hardships and pressed through so many challenges … all this was the grace of God.”
THE SECOND THING IN LIFE TO AVOID IS allowing bitterness to take root in our lives and relationships. Hebrews 12:15 goes on to tells us, “See to it that……..no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Just like in a plant, a bitter root causes a bitter fruit. When we allow bitterness to take hold in our heart and lives…….for whatever reason……it has a deeply negative effect on so much that we do in life, and often time with generational effects.
The Bible talks about the sins of the father. I do not believe that our sins are passed on to our offspring. However, very much like the bitterness that takes root in our lives, often the sins of a parent are passed on to their offspring in that the sin is repeated. Often these sins (such as drug use, promiscuity, sexual abuse, alcohol use, lying, etc,) are repeated yet often also, many children reject these sins and vow not to repeat them. The important thing is that Jesus taught that each of us is responsible for our own actions.
May you recognize every opportunity that God has given you and may you share your life with others around you so that they too will recognize the grace of God in their lives.