Hebrews 10:22-24 (NIV)
22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Much of my thinking these days during this pandemic has been about how we, as Christians, show our faith and hope to others. I find what is most difficult for me is minimizing my fears and acting from an attitude of hope. This passage from Hebrews assures me and calls me to act in two ways; one is to “draw nearer to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,” and the other is to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Our hope is found in knowing that God has got this. God does not leave us in times of trouble, and God will make good come from this crisis. At my age, I have seen too many crises and seen God turn them around too many times to not believe that this crisis will also end in the same way. God works in so many ways in our everyday lives to love us and assure us that God is our answer. Our faith, demonstrated in our attitude of hope, manifests God’s purpose in all things.
My biggest challenge is in thinking about how we “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” when fear seems to be shutting so many of us down. My fears are primarily found in my own health concerns, scientific unknowns, political divisions, government actions, other peoples’ behavior, and in my own stressed behavior. My desire is to learn and act on what I can do to “not lean into fear” and help bring people together through God’s love.
In order to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” I believe that helping people work through their fear is important. For me, helping people work through their fear has helped me remember where my source of strength comes from, and this is an outward demonstration of my hope and faith. Helping others overcome their fear by serving them helps me overcome my fear.
In today’s world, with social media and opinion news feeding the cycle of fear and division, it seems that “spurring one another towards love and good deeds” is counter-cultural. Perhaps this is what the passage means when it says to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful,” because God knows we will be counter-cultural and challenged. Our intentions must first come from a place of wanting to love and serve others, not wanting to “win” or “be right.” To serve others, we must be seen as respecting all sides of the virus discussion without encouraging our fear.
Our hope comes from knowing that God has “got this” no matter what human decisions are made; our attitude of hope is demonstrated to others by “spurring (ourselves and) others towards love and good deeds,” using our faith and God’s love as our energy sources.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and others during this time of crisis. Please give me the wisdom to know how to make myself available, grateful, faithful, and generous during this time of crisis. Help me to spur myself and others towards love and good deeds for your glory. I pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.