December 22 (Daily reading: Hebrews 7-10) “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (10:23-24). This was written to a community of believers who had gone through much suffering: “You endured a great conflict of sufferings” (10:32). The writer challenged them to hold on to their hope, but also to motivate one another “to love and good deeds.” If we are hurting, doing good deeds may not take priority. But when we emphasize God’s faithfulness to us, we will also consider how we can be faithful to one another: “…encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (10:25).
The promise of Christ’s return is a strong incentive to hold onto hope, keep the faith, and encourage one another. Hope is always contagious. In the face of negative circumstances that bring discouragement, we can choose to be positive because we know Who is coming! Our hope in Christ’s return encourages us to be faithful!
We can identify with these Hebrew believers. Difficult circumstances can lead us, like them, to struggle spiritually. At a time like that, we need to encourage one another, and we do that by coming alongside one another. We live in the reality that we are members one of another and that we need one another. The writer of the Hebrew letter told us how we can be faithful both as individuals and as a community: “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (10:22). As we draw near to God and to one another, our faith will be stronger, and we will be mutually encouraged. (Adapted from my book, “We Love Because God First Loved Us,” pages 73-74, 100).
– Al Gary