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Daily Devotional: Keeping Near

Daily Devotional: Keeping Near

By: Alistair Begg - July 16, 2023

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

Hebrews 2:1

When asked in conversation whether or not they are married, no husband or wife would reach for a photo album or rummage for a legal certificate to support their answer or prove their status. Rather, they would talk about current experiences—the privileges, the joys, perhaps even the challenges and the struggles of life with their spouse. So it is in the Christian faith: our expressions of its reality ought to be directly related to our present experience and not merely our past conversion. Keeping near the heart of God strengthens our relationship with Him and provides us with fresh reminders of His grace and mercy.

This does not happen by accident. Spiritual drift is a constant and often unnoticed danger in our spiritual lives. In order to prevent us from drifting and abandoning the love we had at first (Revelation 2:4), the writer of Hebrews warns and invites us to “pay … closer attention to what we have heard”—namely, the message of the gospel. When we immerse ourselves daily in the reading and memorizing of God’s word, our affections are stirred, and our gaze remains fixed on Jesus’ atoning work on the cross.

We must, though, combine the ministry of the word with faith. It is possible to sit under the word of God and yet to remain impervious to its truth. All kinds of information may rattle around in our heads without ever reaching our hearts or commanding our wills. But when we combine gospel truth with faith, then we strengthen and experience our relationship with God, in the present tense.

Committing ourselves to gathering with God’s people also encourages daily continuation in the Christian life. Luke tells us that the early church devoted itself to, among other things, “the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship” and “the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42). Why? Because they understood that the gathering of God’s people in worship and for the study of the Scriptures is one of the key means that God has ordained to ensure that we don’t become spiritual castaways.

If you sense yourself drifting today, do not give in on the one hand to the temptation to believe that all is lost, or on the other hand to the temptation to think that it does not matter. Return again to the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul (1 Peter 2:25), and ask for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit, who is able to strengthen and equip you as you pursue an abiding relationship with the Father through hearing over and over again the glorious truths of the gospel.

About the Author(s)
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Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
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