‘Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled’, Heb. 12. 15
The writer of Hebrews had deep desires for the believers to whom he wrote. They faced difficulties because of their background. They were Jewish believers but many amongst their kin were not. These believers faced opposition for their movement away from the Jewish rituals to the true faith in Christ. Sadly, they also faced some whose profession of Christ was merely intellectual. Their attack was not open hostility and opposition but something far more subtle. There was within them a ‘root of bitterness’, an essential element that would ultimately manifest their lack of salvation. However, as we know, until some shoot begins to grow from the root, we are unaware that the root exists. Even if we have found the root, the nature of the plant that will grow from it is largely unknown.
With a comprehensive network of communication it is possible to get to know information immediately. Indeed, some have picked up their mobile phones to film some event and beam it around the world as it happens. Whether it is the old fashioned phone call, the text message, the email, the tweet, or the Facebook entry, we can inform the world of our friends and contacts at the press of a button. Sadly, this ability to circulate ideas, opinions, and events has a serious implication. That ‘root of bitterness’ can manifest itself much more widely now than ever! The word of mouth, or the bearing of tales, has developed a whole new dimension! What would have been a relatively small local matter can become national and international in seconds.
The wise man wrote, ‘Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth’, Prov. 26. 20. In 2013 we have the potential to defile the mind and heart of so many believers by means of our sophisticated electronic communications. How important, rather, to ‘look diligently’ and seek to preserve believers from that which is false, from that which springs from bitterness, and to develop in them the features commensurate with a work of the grace of God. Elders have a responsibility to guard and nurture the young, but we each have a responsibility. Paul wrote to Timothy of the dangers of a pursuit of riches, ‘But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness’, 1 Tim. 6. 11. The exhortation of what to follow is good advice in a wider context, and particularly relevant for today!
We trust that there will be material in this present magazine which will promote the spiritual health of every believer. There is something practical, something devotional, and something instructional. We trust that there might be something for you!