Day 7 – Lent

Scripture:

Psalms: 119:49-72, 49, [53]
OT: Deut. 9:13-21
NT: Heb. 3:12-19
Gospel: John 2:23––3:15

Reflection:

“Just me and Jesus.” Have you heard that before? It’s one of the single greatest lies that Christians have ever bought into.

Before the printing press, the local church or the Synagogue had a copy of the Scriptures. For a person to hear them they had to go when the congregation was meeting. They would hear the Scripture read and expounded on. They would try and memorize it. There would be ongoing conversations between meeting times on the Scripture with one another to help one another remember. The people of God took in the Scriptures together as a community.

Then the printing press came along and people could own their own copies of the Scriptures. Private reading and study became more and more the norm. Somewhere along the line we invented the “quiet time.” Then we bought into a great lie, “Just me and Jesus.”

The individualism that the Protestant reformation helped usher in, was perfected in the United States of America. We have made our “walks with Jesus” private, individual, and personal.

The problem is, that there is no “Just me and Jesus.”

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews writes,

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19, ESV)

The writer is warning against unbelief. What is the remedy? The key protection against unbelief? “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today.” A daily exhortation of one another. There’s no me and Jesus. There’s no, “I just need to get away and be alone with my thoughts and prayers.”

By no means!

We need more of one another. We need people in our lives to exhort us and challenge us to hold fast to our faith. There is a necessity of community and connection in the Christian faith. When we isolate ourselves is when we begin to flounder. If our faith is overly personal and individual, then unbelief creeps in and short circuits us.

You need me and I need you. Together we make up the body of Christ.

Some may read this and say, “Pastor Dan doesn’t think we should read our Bibles or spend time in private prayer.” That is not at all what I am saying. What I am reminding us is that our “quiet times” or “personal time with Jesus” can not trump our corporate times. The best way for us to understand the Scriptures is to engage with them as a congregation. The best way to grow in our faith is to be a part of congregation that exhorts one another.

Let us ask one another one simple question as we spend time together, “How is your soul?”

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