Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This is one of my favorite verses from the book of Hebrews. A few years ago, my co-workers made a t-shirt for me that had a big coffee cup on it, and the words, “This girl runs on coffee and grace. Hebrews 4:16” I have just about worn the threads out of that t-shirt. It is true though. I love Jesus and coffee, and I’m so thankful for the undeserving grace that He gives me daily. I’m sure I could do without coffee if I had to, but I can’t go one minute without Jesus. I like coffee a lot, but my true love is for Jesus. Coffee may give me a boost to get up and go, but it is the love, grace, and strength of Jesus that keeps me going day in and day out. Just for fun, let’s talk about our relationship with Jesus and coffee because let’s face it, I spend a lot of time drinking coffee while talking to Jesus. I’d like to use an acrostic for the word Hebrews to accomplish this task and review a few things about coffee that perhaps isn’t so appealing, and a few things of Christ that very desirable.
HABIT. Drinking coffee can definitely be habit forming. I used to be addicted to sodas. At first, it was Coca Cola, and then I became infatuated with Diet Coke. It wasn’t until I was in my forties, and I realized the negative effects that aspartame was having on my health, that I gave up my love for sodas. My husband introduced me to coffee, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s not merely the habit of drinking a cup of coffee, but rather it’s an addiction. If you drink as much coffee as I do, and you skip it for about 24 hours, the little men with jackhammers in your head will start pounding away reminding you of the detrimental lack of caffeine. This, my friends, is how our relationship with Jesus should be. It should be habit forming, and so much so that if we miss even one day in His presence, we get an overwhelming craving for Him. Praying, seeking Christ, and reading His Word should be such a habit that it is second nature to us.
EASY. Thanks to the latest and greatest technology, the perfect cup of coffee is only a few seconds away. We have a Keurig, and after much trial and error, we have found the perfect coffee for us, and it is so simple. If you keep the water reservoir full, all you have to do is drop a K-cup in the Keurig, press a button, and voila, the perfect cup of coffee. That’s about as easy at it gets. We try to make this Jesus thing hard. We try to make all of these lists of laws, rules, and regulations that we must follow, but when we do this, we are not giving Jesus the credit He deserves. A loving relationship with Jesus is easier than making a cup of coffee. All you have to do is ask Him into your heart. That’s it. No strings attached. He has already done all of the hard stuff. All we have to do is give Him our heart, and He will take care of the rest. Easy peasy.
BITTER. Don’t you just hate a bitter cup of coffee? I think the bitterness of coffee is what turned me off to it for so many years. I have always enjoyed the smell of coffee brewing, but for years it was that bitter taste that turned me away. I started off my affection for coffee with heavily flavored concoctions. My husband called it fru fru coffee. I tried all kinds of flavors, and I found many delightful blends. Eventually, the coffee didn’t taste bitter anymore. I came to enjoy the robust flavor of coffee. Unfortunately, there are quite a few who claim to be Christians that walk around oozing with bitterness. The words and actions that are emitted are sometimes so bitter that it could easily turn someone off to Christianity. As followers of Jesus, the aroma and flavor that we should be sharing is one that is sweeter than honey. When are hearts belong to Jesus and our minds are on things of Him, there is no room for a bitter spirit within us.
REAL. Although there are a variety of flavors and richness of coffee, there are actually only two types: caffeinated and decaffeinated, AKA the real stuff and the fake stuff. I drink coffee for the taste of it, but I have to admit that I love that little caffeine kick that it adds. I keep a few K-cups of decaf coffee in the cabinet for late night cups, but that is a rarity. I like the real stuff. I love the boldness of a rich cup of caffeinated coffee. But coffee can be deceiving. It may look like a real cup of coffee with a delightful boost of caffeine, but in reality, it could be a big old cup of decaf…fake coffee…not the real deal. Christianity is much like this. Everyone falls into one of two categories: either you are a Christian or you are not. There is no middle of the road here. You can’t sit on the fence. Either you are all in or you are all out. People play the game frequently. They boast of their religion. They look real on the outside, but there is no fruit. There is no heart change, no Jesus on the inside. They are playing the game…they are fake…and are not the real deal. We must live out our Christian walk being real with everyone we come in contact with. We must share Jesus and let others know that He is the real deal and that we are really in love with Him.
EXPENSIVE. Y’all, coffee can be very expensive, especially if you like to drive through Starbucks or PJ’s Coffee or one of the many other specialty coffee shops. They serve up delectable coffee flavors with a frothy top, blended in ice, or even served over ice. They will design your coffee half-caf, full caf, low fat, whole milk, sugar or no, and pretty much however you desire it. But that professionally prepared coffee comes at a price. It’s much more costly than making a good old cup of hot coffee in the comfort of your own home. Salvation was expensive for Christ. He died on that cross for each and every single one of us. He was tortured and crucified so that we may be made right with the Father. This was the single most costly gift of love ever given, and it didn’t cost us a single red penny. I’ve heard so many say that Christianity is too costly. You have to give up this or that, or perhaps you have to become someone else, live a different way, or act differently. It is not until we accept this precious gift that we truly understand. The Holy Spirit gradually changes us. We don’t want to be the person that we used to be, and we slowly but surely become the person Christ intended for us to be, and although Christ paid the ultimate price, it didn’t cost us a thing!
WATERED DOWN. When I first started making coffee, I made it a little on the weak side. It was watered down. In fact, I can remember my daddy coming over for a cup of coffee, and asking me what was in his cup. When I replied that it was coffee, he informed me that the stuff in his cup was not coffee because he could see right through it. He told me coffee is supposed to be black and rich. It shouldn’t be watered down. Christianity shouldn’t be watered down either. I have grown so weary of watered down Christianity. It seems that it is the nature of our current culture to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that people want to follow and ignore the rest. Sins are ranked on a scale of not so bad to horrible, and those that are currently considered not so bad are gradually being accepted as good. People, we can not water down the Word of God. If we accept that the Bible as the living Word of God, then we have to also accept that the entire book is the truth of God. We can’t water it down. We can’t pick and choose the parts we like. We have to love the whole Word. Don’t water down the truth, my friends. It is God’s Word.
STALE. Before I learned to love coffee, I owned a coffee pot that I kept stored away deep in a kitchen cabinet. I also kept a bag of coffee in my freezer to try to keep the coffee from growing stale. My mom was an avid coffee drinker, and when she came to visit, I pulled out that pot and those frozen coffee grounds and brewed her a pot of coffee. On occasion, she would share with me that the coffee had grown stale. I laugh about it now because I realize that a poor bag of coffee could feasibly live in my freezer for five years before getting used up. That allows for plenty of time for the grounds to grow stale. Talk about stale! Stale coffee is undesirable. It has lost its flavor. It’s boring. It is no longer of any use. I fear that this is what is happening to the church these days. People are staying away from church due to safety needs during this pandemic. Many times we are watching live streams of services online. I’m so thankful that online services are available for those who can’t meet in person, but I fear that this is leading to a world of Christian consumers rather than contributors. We can enjoy a livestream service from our sofa, but we can’t serve from our sofa. We miss out on a very big part of worship which is community, community with fellow believers. We can’t feel the power that is felt in a church full of believers praising and worshipping together. We need the church when we aren’t fully present. We need to meet together so that we do not grow stale in our faith. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25) We need our church family, and our church needs us. Meeting together rejuvenates us, refreshes us, and keeps us from growing stale.
An old meme says, “Men should make coffee for their women because it says so right in the Bible: Hebrews.” I don’t know about all of that. At my house, whoever rolls out of bed first brews the coffee. He brews and she brews. My husband makes my coffee just the way I like it, and I make his coffee for him just the way he likes it. However, making a cup of coffee isn’t the first action of my day. No, my friends, before coffee comes prayer. I wake up and thank my Lord and Savior for another day and ask Him to guide my path as I begin a new day. Coffee comes right after prayer, and with that cup of coffee comes a big old dose of Jesus. Yep, that’s right, I sit down at our kitchen table and dig in the Word. I do this out of habit, and I pray that it is a habit that sticks we me for the rest of my life. I know that living for the Lord will not always be easy, but I know that He will guide my steps. I pray that I never appear to be a bitter Christian, and that the sweet flavor of Jesus rolls off of my tongue in speech and in my actions. I also pray that I continue to be real in my walk. I have always been a what you see is what you get kind of girl, and I pray that others see Jesus in me when they look my way. I pray that I never forget the price Christ paid for my salvation, and may my remembrance of this keep me from living a watered down Christian life and from growing stale, May we start each day with prayer, a big old cup of coffee, and a little Hebrews. Then we can truly approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.