Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Know Whom I Have Believed"1 (Lyrics)
Gazing at a favourite painting can bring feelings of joy and pleasure, bringing back good memories of a happy time in our lives. Perhaps, the painting holds significance for our family, or maybe, we just like the colours. As an artist, I find that the process of painting goes far beyond personal significance; it is a visceral push and pull of the oil paint across the canvas, a moment-by-moment decision to soften an edge, bring forward a detail, push a section into the background with cooler hues, or warm up a focal point with a bright pigment. Painting is the outpouring of my soul, a merging of my personality, training, and instinct, combined with years of skill with brush and palette. I always want to advance and improve my understanding and ability as an artist — not content again with a colouring book!
The Message paraphrase offers a lovely artistic tint to today's passage:
Hebrews 6:1-3 – So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on "salvation by self-help" and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we'll stay true to all that. But there's so much more. Let's get on with it! (MSG)
I love that image of progressing from fingerpainting exercises to being a skilled artist, encouraging us to "leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity" (Hebrews 6:1a NIV).
What would a painting of faith toward God look like? Would it be of us believers, convinced of the truth and having total confidence in our God, our feet firmly planted on the foundation that He made for us? That image would not be a do-it-yourself kind of faith, nor would it be a faith that relies on others to think and learn and believe for us. The psalmist advises us that "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. (Psalm 118:8 NKJV) It would never even do to have faith in our own denomination or church, believing that our version of the faith is the only valid one. The only faith that matters is that towards our God, the One who created everyone and everything, even when we, others, or religion do fail.
An incurably sick woman pursued Jesus through a crowd, just to touch the fabric of His clothes (Matthew 9:20-22). She had that faith toward God not to be content to keep on suffering, having spent all that she had on doctors. She recognized the presence of God with Jesus, and reached out to Him for complete healing.
Today, let's hold on to the elementary principles of Christ which we learned when we accepted Him in faith. Let's not slide back into an easy, unchallenging understanding of God, when it can be an exciting immersion into a full faith experience with the One Who created and loves us. Sing with me:
Prayer: I know not why God's wondrous grace to me He hath made known, nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own. But "I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day." (Daniel W. Whittle, 1883). Amen.