“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” – Hebrews 10:24 NIV
I happened to read this passage on Justin Forsett’s Twitter account while lying in bed one morning listening to NPR. On the radio was a story about Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveling to Israel to meet the newly installed Prime Minister and begin to work to calm tensions in that part of the world. As I listened to the story it quickly became clear, as they ticked through all the different challenges he would be facing when he arrived, that the enormous scale of the division in that part of the world was still ever-present. And on top of the U.S.’s relationship with Israel, Blinken was tasked with managing our relationships with no less than half a dozen other countries. While I lay there listening to the reporter lay all this out, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between the state of affairs in the Middle East and this message from Hebrews.
Earlier in the book of Hebrews it talks about how Jesus, through his life and death, opened to us a “new and living way.” Before He came to this world to live with us, how tightly must we have been holding on to our old, dying ways that God felt the need to come down himself to reset our direction and show us an alternative path? I mean, how many times did my parents choose to yell down to my siblings and me from upstairs to “cut that nonsense out!”? It wasn’t until something really egregious happened (a broken bone, the sounds of a breaking lamp, broken glass) that they descended the staircase to see “what in God’s name is happening down here?!” Suffice it to say it usually took epic levels of dysfunction to get them down to our level.
So, until God decides that that we brothers and sisters have reached that same place in our world, I think we need to take this message from Hebrews to heart. What “new and living way” is being referred to? Well, later in Hebrews we are given one good place to start. The full passage reads, “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). Meeting together indeed.
The division in our world is much talked about, but it can’t be so bad that God isn’t still giving us a chance to fix it ourselves. He hasn’t bounced down those stairs quite yet. Coming together with one another is a great start, but we need to truly live out our lives in search of “new and living ways” in this world of conflicts and division.
Beautifully written. Thank you