Tempted to go back?
Following Jesus isn't always easy. Here's what to do if you feel like giving up.
A former inmate in Florida was injured while trying to sneak back into prison. Sylvester Jiles suffered severe cuts from barbed wire while trying to climb a 12-foot fence at the Brevard County Detention Center. Jiles had only recently been released from prison for manslaughter. He feared that family members of his victim would retaliate against him, so he tried to sneak back into prison. This seems like an inconceivable thing to do: doesn't it!
Now this story reminds me of the book of Hebrews (of course!?). Hebrews is written to Christians who are tempted to give up on Jesus and go back to life without Jesus. Have you ever felt like doing this, felt like leaving Jesus behind? It can be pretty common when you are finding the Christian life pretty hard, to be tempted to chuck it all in.
But the book of Hebrews says to anyone in this situation to think again. For, to turn away from Jesus is even more inconceivable than wanting to going back to prison. To leave Jesus is to go back to a life of slavery to the law, slavery to sin and slavery to the fear of death.
Jesus is the radiance of God's glory, the exact representation of his being. Jesus is our perfect Prophet, merciful, faithful, great and eternal High Priest, supreme King, kind Shepherd and sacrifice of atonement all rolled up into One. The covenant he brings in is full of love, live, redemption and forgiveness. It would be completely foolish to turn your back on such a great salvation and such a great Saviour.
Here's some more advice from the book of Hebrews:
- Instead of drawing away from God, draw near to God (Heb. 3:12; 4:16; 7:19; 10:22).
- Don't drift away from God; fix your thought on Jesus and hold on firmly 'til the end (Heb. 2:1; 3:1, 6, 14; 5:14).
- Don't be lazy about this, but make every effort to enter your eternal rest (Heb. 4:11; 6:12).
- Don't throw away your confidence, but hold unswervingly to your hope (Heb. 10:23, 35).
- Don't give up hanging out with other Christians, but keep meeting together with them and keep on encouraging them (Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25).
- Don't grow weary or lose heart, but run with perseverance and with your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus so that you don't miss out on God's grace (Heb. 10:36; 12:1-3).
- If you are finding the Christian life tough going, make sure you take the time to read Hebrews. Yes, the Christian life can be hard, but it is so worth it.
Don't give up on Jesus. Don't sneak back into prison.