Is Jesus boring?
One of the keys to good parenting that I’ve discovered over the years is to be so predictable that I’m boring…at least when it comes to discipline and behavioral expectations – first for myself, and then for my children. While it may have looked ‘boring’ at a surface level or even felt ‘boring’ to me, the consistency of my character provided the foundation for relationship with my children.
Especially through their younger years, our relationship always seemed to go smoother when I was most consistent. It’s as if they took a measure of comfort in knowing not just the boundaries, but who their dad is as a person. When I was out of sorts, they could sense it, and they became unsteady. Looking back, the season when I was traveling extensively for work certainly took a toll on our family dynamic. Dad wasn’t consistently there, and it showed.
However, the flip side also rang true. The times when I was consistently tuned in to both who I am with God and what my purpose is for my children – those seasons have resulted in some of our best family memories. (Notice I didn’t say easiest, I said best…and there is often a difference)
My consistency came directly from my connection to God. He is our ultimate example for the parent-child relationship, such that His consistency of character (from the surface level) may even appear ‘boring’. But when we lean into His consistency of character, we find the things we cannot achieve anywhere else in life – identity, perspective, foundation, and purpose.
But it’s hard to rely on God for those things. We struggle with the idea that we must earn everything, including relationships. We don’t want to admit dependency or, quite frankly, our inner-most need for it. And this is where the recipients of the letter we call Hebrews were in danger of slipping. The author had already shown them Jesus’ fulfillment of Mosaic law and superiority over its decrees, but there would be the temptation for them to go back to trying to build a relationship with God based upon what actions they choose.
The author addressed this concern both as a warning and an encouragement:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited.
The author says his readers cannot establish their relationship with God due to the ceremonial foods they would eat, or rituals they follow. The people’s activities were shadows that pointed to Jesus and the relationship with God only He could provide.
Jesus hasn’t changed. Jesus doesn’t change. Who He was in the Old Testament, who He is in the New Testament, and who He will be in eternity future is the same Great God who loves us unconditionally, entirely based upon grace.
If you come across any teaching that even suggests otherwise, don’t be led astray. Reject such foolishness. We cannot earn God’s love, by cash now or on credit later. We cannot do enough good things today to earn the start of a relationship with Jesus. We cannot do enough good deeds later to justify His investment of eternal life in us. No matter what we’ve done, are doing, or will do – our standing with God is entirely established by grace.
We will not find His consistency boring; rather His consistent character will show us our true identity, proper perspective, a solid foundation, a life’s purpose, and a heart established by grace. Most of all, His consistent character shows us…Him.
Don’t be led astray.