Heb. 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…
When I was in high school I had a Spanish teacher who was consumed with Don Quixote. When I say consumed, this guy was eaten up. He talked about Don Quixote every day. I don’t remember a single Spanish lesson that year. He even took us on a field trip to see Man from La Mancha on Broadway (I lived in New Jersey during my high school years). Don Quixote was living in an imaginary world caught up chasing “shadows”. He was totally disconnected from the “real world” and lived in an imaginary world of castles, knights, and fair maidens. Sometimes I think most of us live our lives disconnected from the “real world” chasing after shadows. You see, the “real world” is the unseen world of the kingdom. Most of us spend our time and our resources chasing the shadows of this natural world. A.W. Pink spoke about “shadow chasers” in his commentary on this verse.
“In the light of the whole context the specific reference in the exhortation of vs. 13 constitutes a solemn caution against apostasy (backsliding). What we particularly need to exhort one another about is to cleave fast to Christ, lest something else supplant Him in our affections. The whole trend of our sinful natures is to depart from the living God, to grasp at the shadows and miss the substance. This was the particular danger of the Hebrews. Sin was trying to deceive them. It was seeking to draw them back to Judaism as the one tue and divinely-appointed religion. To guard against the insidious appeals being made, the apostle urges them to “exhort one another daily, that is, promptly and frequently.”
I love Pink’s phrase “to grasp at shadows and miss the substance”. For those who have experienced the hidden kingdom, it is a substance. It is tangible and real, it is the very center of what our lives are all about. In comparison to the substance of the kingdom of God, this present world consists of shadows. I have noticed a trend in in a lot of the hip, trendy churches today. Much of their time is spent teaching the art of “shadow chasing”. They view the Bible as a hand book on how to improve and maximize all of their best shadow chasing efforts. Rather than embracing the substance of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of this world is the focus. Their emphasis becomes excellence in this present life; in their business, their marriages, and their ministry. Like Don Quixote, they are consumed with chasing dreams that have no substance and fighting battles that are not even real.
I’ll never forget that Spanish teacher, I can see him now, his arms flailing through the air as he chased shadows with the Man from La Mancha. There were castles, knaves, and of course, Dulcinea the imaginary fair maiden that consumed his life. What shadow are you chasing today?