Maybe they were tempted to go back to something that would be easier, whether reverting to Judaism (which may have gotten less push-back in their culture), or just giving up on any kind of belief in a supernatural God entirely (which is perhaps a more common temptation today, where material gods or idols of selfishness and pride try to compete for our worship).
And, from Hebrews 10:24-25, it seems that some people were not meeting together (or were thinking about doing so). However, there’s nothing like trying to solve our problems as individuals – remaining in isolation from those who could help – to separate us from the body and make ourselves an easy target for evil forces that want to pick us off. (Having said that, I’m also guilty of that vice, sometimes.) This passage further suggests to me that the recipients of this letter needed some encouragement, not just from the author, but from each other, too.
How about us, today? Are there days when it just seems like too much to stay committed to the faith?
If not (that is, if your faith is strong right now), that’s great! There are days when we’re walking with Jesus, and it’s amazing. Maybe those are the times when we need to help others who are struggling with a bad day (or bad times that have lasted much longer than a day). Formally-organized times of meeting together as believers offer opportunities to do so, but they shouldn’t be our only time in strengthening fellow believers and helping to carry their burdens.
However, there are days when we are still walking with Jesus, and it’s raining and cold and we’re sad and things hurt, and we just don’t feel like going on. What do we do, then? Maybe we re-read these verses from Hebrews (and other encouraging passages from the Bible), to remind us that our faith and hope are worth fighting to hold onto, even when it’s tough. It might also be time to share our burdens with someone else, who can bring us the encouragement that we need.
I don’t know which part of your path you are on today. Maybe you’re on a mountaintop, celebrating God’s blessings and being energized by serving God and serving others as He gives you the opportunities to do so. Maybe you are in a valley, and you’re not sure how to get through today, much less the next month. Maybe your life is currently a little of both.
No matter where you are, I hope that God speaks to you today through the following passage from Hebrews 10:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
If things are going well, don’t skip out on chances to meet with other Christians, whether during formal group times, or throughout your week. Take the time to remind them about the reason for their faith, and encourage them. Be like those in verse 33, who “stood side by side with those who were so treated” when you see someone being insulted or persecuted for their faith.
If things are rough for you these days, you can actually serve others by sharing your challenges with them, and giving them the opportunity to help and encourage you. But, if that’s too difficult (after all, I know that my pride sometimes keeps me from doing this), I hope that you can be encouraged by the reminders from God’s Word, which reminds us that living with God in troubles is better than living without God in temporary comfort, and that – when following Jesus – the destination is worth the effort required to make the journey.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for November 21, 2021
- The Lookout, September 5, 2021 © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press Commentary, Hebrews, by Jim Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse. College Press Publishing Company, © 1997.