English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As we continue through Hebrews 13, we will find there are only a few more suggested ways to please God. Verse 9 says, “Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you from the right way.” What are strange teachings? Anything that takes away from the 3 basic commands of the New Testament…Love God, love others, and tell the world. Pretty simple isn’t it? When a religion determines to attach man-made rules to the Word it falls under the heading of ‘strange teachings’. Paul uses the example of dietary practices. He says those who follow these ‘teachings’ have not been helped. Why? Because it replaces what we should be thinking on (Philippians 4:8) with the voices of the world.
The next word we receive on this issue is–ALWAYS offer praise! What is praise? It is the sacrifice offered with our lips through Jesus. We are proclaiming Him as Lord and through that God as the One and Only.
Two other sacrifices are mentioned here. We are to do good and help one another. These are listed as sacrifices because it is not in our sinful nature to want to do these. Well, whether we want to or not is really not the point. We are simply to do it, to make these part of our life skills. Imagine a world where an attitude of what’s in it for me is replaced with the constant thought of what can I do for you.
And finally, we are told to obey our leaders and follow their orders. Oh, my, really, do I have to? These types of commands are put in the Bible because God knows us. He knows that we would rather do it our way, than let someone else tell us what to do. Our leaders, both in the church and in the world at large have been placed in that position by God, for a specific purpose. Both have the same type of protection for their followers, constituents on their shoulders. When rules are made, they are often because the one in charge, chosen by God, knows we will be protected by it. Jesus tells us to ‘give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. That is not only about taxes it is about remembering who’s in charge and honoring that person. So the next time a speeding ticket is issued just remember the rule was there for our protections.
My prayer, in the words of Paul (verse 21):
May the God of peace provide you with every good thing you need in order to do his will, and may He, through Jesus Christ, do in us what pleases Him. And to Christ be the glory forever and ever! Amen. (Today’s English Version)
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