What We Do: Encourage and Serve One Another
In Proverbs 24:10 we read, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” In these days, many have been swallowed up by fear and anxiety. Many have retreated to self-protection strategies. Many have turned inward. But this is not the way God’s children respond to trial. So, what do we DO as God's children? What does it look like to stand firm in the faith? What does it look like to keep our eyes looking upward and outward? Over the next couple of weeks, we want to encourage you to pray, to love one another and to be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Encourage & Serve One Another
During a time that seems uncertain, it can be easy to turn inward, especially when a lockdown means seclusion in our homes. But, I encourage us to look at three soul-satisfying reminders from Hebrews 10:23–25 that tell us how to think and live no matter our circumstances, even during a global pandemic:
1. Hold Fast
Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
We can place our hope in a lot of things, but eventually those things waver. Do you find yourself turning to these wavering hopes: an economic stimulus package, the health of my loved ones and co-workers, getting enough groceries, Amazon Prime deliveries, finding toilet paper or hand sanitizer at the store? Such recent disruptions remind us that we can’t hold fast to things in this world. But the writer of Hebrews tells us to hold fast to something without wavering. The writer tells us to hope in one thing that has no tipping point and is secure––“for He who promised is faithful.” Our hope is emboldened by God fulfilling His promises (Hebrews 6:13–20) and this promise is best demonstrated in Christ’s work (Hebrews 10:19–22). Holding fast to hope in God is different from any other worldly hopes. Governments, health organizations or conveniences are great blessings, but give no guarantee. Hold fast to the hope found in our promise keeping God who is faithful no matter the circumstances.
However, hope is not meant to be hoarded for ourselves. It is meant to be shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The writer continues with two ways this hope can be shared.
2. Stir Up
Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”
Let me point out that the best way to stir up one another is by first grounding ourselves in the truth of God’s promises. Out of this foundational hope-filled trust in the one who is faithful, we can be creative on considering how to stir up (or provoke) one another to do two things; love and good works.
I love this image of stirring up. When I take chocolate and milk and stir them together, the outcome is chocolate milk. When we put gospel-saturated, hope-filled Christians together and “stir them up”, the outcome should be love and good works. God has given us a unique time in history to carry out love and good works toward one another. Let’s together consider how we can stir one another up in the hope of God toward love and good works in our daily lives.
Hebrews 10:25 "not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
It’s becoming evident that we are starting to realize the value of meeting together. I miss you all, and my prayer is that when we reunite again, we cherish the gift of being together. Although we cannot physically meet together during a quarantine, we can still encourage one another from afar. In a day where the internet has allowed us to shrink the world to the size of our phones, we have the capacity to be more connected. For example, just this week I have spoken with people from Scotland, China, France, New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, Illinois and people here in Indiana. I am so thankful for how technology can be used to interact immediately with brothers and sisters both near and far. Although it is hard to meet together, we can still enter into one another’s homes through technology and encourage one another.
Encouraging one another from a distance is still a possibility. When someone comes to mind, it is likely the Holy Spirit is bringing them up for a reason. So, take a moment to pray for them and then reach out. After you pray, text, call or write that person a card. Enter into their life and encourage them. Let’s take this opportunity to speak into one another’s lives while we have time to do so.
The anchor holding us in place amidst any storm is unwavering hope in a God who is faithful to keep His promises. Let’s hold fast to that hope. May this clinging hope in God stir up within us greater love, greater works and greater encouragement than ever before.