Reflections on spiritual themes (and a few other things).

Tag: Jesus

Enrolled

To “enroll” is to add a person to an official list of members or participants. 

I doubt a week passes that most of us aren’t invited to enroll in something. It could be a conference or workshop, an insurance program, a sports team, an exercise class, a gym membership, a webinar, a subscription, or a school. 

When you enroll in something, it says three things. First, it says that you’re interested in it. Second, it says that you have a compelling reason for being included. Finally, it says that you want to reserve a place in it. 

In the book of Hebrews, the author speaks of the most significant kind of enrollment, our enrollment in heaven. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12.22-24).

He’s describing his readers’ place in Christ. They were Jews who at some point had become Christians, but who were now experiencing severe persecution. They were tempted to return to the familiar and comfortable ways of Judaism, but the writer makes appeal after appeal to remain loyal to Jesus. Here, he says that in coming to Jesus they became part of the body of Christ and were now enrolled in heaven. The NIV and CSB versions say their names are “written in heaven.”

Think about that. When you became a Christian, you signed up for heaven. Jesus has reserved a place for you in the heavenly realm. But it’s not just something we wait for until Jesus returns, we’re Christ’s body right now. We’re already experiencing a taste of heaven as the family of God. We need to continue living like citizens of heaven (see Philippians 3.20).

The author brings this point home to his readers a few verses later when he says, “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12.28-29). 

Until our enrollment is fulfilled in heaven, we must continue on earth with grateful, reverent service to the God who’s preparing an eternal place for us in heaven, and who’s already signed us up for permanent residence.

Inertia

Do you remember in science class a thing called “inertia”? The popular definition is that “bodies at rest stay at rest, bodies in motion stay in motion.” It’s why a car traveling 60 mph don’t easily stop. It’s also why a car sitting at a stoplight takes a few moments to get back up to speed. 

Inertia may also explain Mondays and Fridays. When we’re at rest, we tend to stay at rest. Mondays come and we’ve been relaxing for a few days, and inertia makes it difficult to start. Likewise on Fridays we’ve been hard at work for several days, and inertia makes it difficult to slow down.

How do you prevent inertia from taking control of your life? How do you overcome it when you’re sluggish and don’t want to start? How do you slow it down when you need to relax? 

One verse that has always been helpful to me is Psalm 118.24: “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” If I knew nothing at all about this verse, it would still be a boost for me when I’m struggling.

However, if we dig deeper, it has even more significance. Psalm 118 is a thanksgiving psalm that begins with a familiar formula: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his lovingkindness is everlasting” (v 1). Psalms 113-118 are called “Hallel”, which is the Hebrew verb meaning “to praise.” These six psalms were recited during various festivals, but especially at Passover.

Matthew 26.30 says, “After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Here, Jesus had just celebrated his last Passover with the apostles, and then inaugurated the Lord’s Supper. The “hymn” they sang was the Hallel, including Psalm 118. Think about Jesus’ situation. He’s about to be betrayed by one of his own apostles; it’s the eve of his death; it’s the moment for which he came to earth. He’ll soon ask his Father to remove this cup of “nameless dread”. And on the next day, he’ll die for the sins of the world. 

Yet he could still say, “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Friends, if Jesus could find joy as he faced the cross, surely, we can find a bit of joy in whatever circumstances we face. Maybe we’re feeling sluggish at work, or burdened with care, or hurting, or sad, or tired or just plain grumpy. Nonetheless, we have reason for joy.

“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”