Hebrews 2:1-3a (NASB) For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
Anorexia nervosa is a terrible disease. Imagine having such a false self-image that you believe you’re over-nourished when you’re actually starving. Imagine refusing invitations to eat because you think you’ll be healthier without it! Now think of the church in America. Is she spiritually anorexic?
Well, if I’m going to diagnose, I have to know the symptoms of spiritual anorexia. Jesus Christ describes the first symptom, lack of love, in Matthew 22:1-5 and Luke 14: 16-24. Guests are invited to a supper. They ask to be excused because of other concerns: farms, businesses, lands, oxen and family require their attention. The temporal (that which is here today and gone tomorrow) is considered more important than the eternal. They neglect their salvation, making light of it and being careless about it rather than treasuring it and being diligent, earnest, zealous and careful regarding it. So Jesus tells them they shall not partake of the supper.
The second symptom is a heart hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). The writer of Hebrews tells us that we shall not enter God’s rest if our hearts are hardened (Hebrews 3:8-11). How does sin harden believers’ hearts? They continue in a sin until it no longer seems like sin to them. Their hearts are calloused over, hardened to the point where they no longer hear the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance. Repentance from sin is rarely mentioned in most churches in America. You’re human, after all. You can’t help sinning. But Jesus says He came to set you free from sin (John 8:31-36) so you’re no longer a slave to it.
What’s the cure spiritual anorexia? What’s the cure for lack of love or a hardened heart? Gathering to encourage and exhort (Hebrews 3:13). Preaching in America today often includes no exhortation, no holding the Word of God as a plumb line against each believer, no challenge to the status quo. Christians aren’t encouraged to get right with God. Challenging by speaking the truth in love leads belivers to a healthy fear that they may lack God’s rest (Heberews 4:1). That births a desire for things which accompany salvation and help us to hold it fast (Hebrews 6:9-12). The believer seeks the inner cleansing of heart described in Hebrews 10:22, his heart is filled with God’s love and he jumps at the opportunity to sup with Christ.
In Revelation 3:14-20, Christ speaks to the church at Laodicea. He tells the church (not the lost) that if anyone will let Him in, He will come in and sup with them and they with Him. He’s knocking, church. Don’t think you’re well when you’re starving. Don’t refuse Christ’s invitation. Eat and live!