Sheep have peripheral vision

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One man’s view
about the things
that really matter….

Stories that may
be strange, yet true,
from the Chaplain’s Travel Log….

Sheep have peripheral vision

up to 320 degrees. This means they can graze on a patch of green grass, glimpse another patch and wander off. Their distracted vision can move them from tuft to tuft until they’re grazing in the far country unable to find their way back. As a shepherd once said, “Sheep can nibble themselves toward lostness.”

Hebrews 2:1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

The Christian life is first and foremost a life of contemplation — listening to Jesus, considering Jesus, fixing the eyes of the heart on Jesus. Everything else in the Christian life grows out of this. Without this, the Christian life is simply unliveable.
This is why in verse 1 is a warning: “lest we drift away from it.” “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” The first reason for paying close attention to what we have heard in God’s word through his Son is that the Son is infinitely greater than angels: Creator, Sustainer, Owner, Ruler, Redeemer. Therefore how could you not want to be vigilant in listening and considering and fixing your eyes on him?

Pay Attention, So You Don’t Drift into Destruction
Now comes a second reason for paying close attention to what we have heard of God’s word through his Son: if we don’t do this, we will drift into destruction. Consider this word “drifting.” It means float by. It’s what a piece of bark or a leaf or a dead fish does in the river — it floats by the boat that is being rowed upstream. It takes no life and no motion to float by. One need only do nothing, and you will float by.
Hebrews says that if we do not vigilantly pay closer attention to the word of God, we will float by — we will drift away from God’s word. We all know people that this has happened to. There is no urgency. No vigilance. No focused listening or considering or fixing the eyes on Jesus. And the result has not been a standing still, but a drifting away.
That is the point here: there is no standing still. The life of this world is not a lake. It is a river. And it is flowing downward to destruction. If you do not listen earnestly to Jesus and consider him daily and fix your eyes on him, then you will not stand still; you will go backward. You will float by.
Drifting is a deadly thing in the Christian life. And the remedy to it, according to Hebrews 2:1, is, “Pay close attention to what you have heard.” That is, consider what God is saying in his Son Jesus. Fix your eyes on what God is saying and doing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is not a hard stroke to learn so that we can swim against the stream of sin and indifference.
The only thing that keeps us from swimming like this is our sinful desire to float with other interests. Lets not complain that God has given us a hard job. Listen, consider, fix the eyes — this is not what you would call a hard job description. It is not a job description. It is a solemn invitation to be satisfied in Jesus so that we do not get lured downstream by deceitful desires.

Our “Job” Is to Be Satisfied with God’s Love
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
Failing to pay close attention to God’s word and the drifting away that results is described in verse 3 as “neglecting a great salvation.” And this is said to be extremely dangerous. How dangerous? So dangerous that if we go on in the way of neglecting this great salvation — not listening to Jesus, and not considering Jesus, and not fixing our eyes on Jesus — the result will be that we will not escape. That is, we will not escape the judgment of God Hebrews 12:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:3. We will be lost. We will not inherit eternal life. We will perish in hell.

Drifting Is Infinitely Dangerous
Drifting is infinitely dangerous. Oh, that I could waken you all to be joyfully vigilant in living the Christian life of looking to Jesus, and considering Jesus, and listening to Jesus. His yoke is easy and his burden is light — as easy as listening and as light as looking. But if we neglect this great salvation, and drift into the love of other things, then we will not escape. We will perish. The mark of the true child of God is that that he does not drift for long. If you are drifting, one of the signs of hope that you are born again is that you feel pricked for this — a rising desire in your heart to turn your eyes on Jesus and consider him and listen to him in the days and months and years to come. And one of the signs that you may not be born again is that you hear what I am saying and feel no desire to guard against drifting.

Ron Paton – TRAX Chaplin
Acknowledgements: Barry Corey, Biola University President & John Piper Theologian.

Welcome to Ron Paton as contributor for CROSSTRAX – thanks Ron, well done!

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