A main theme in Hebrews. Part 15.
Are you tempted to fall away from your faith? Does the cold and callous behavior of others who call themselves Christians cause you to doubt your beliefs? Does the disbelief of others who question the Word of God make you doubt your confidence in the Scriptures, causing you to consider walking away from God?
If so, you’re not alone. The first-century believers faced the same situation. Their very lives were in danger, and all of their property had been confiscated merely because they were Christians. These types of trials still exist in the world today. The letter to the Hebrews was written to encourage them so they would hold fast to their confidence in Jesus and in the Christian faith.
Running from my faith happened to me twice. Once, in 1973, when I was a young teenager, after I had been sexually assaulted by someone I knew and trusted. And, next in 1993-95, after our family had undergone calamity after calamity, loss of our home, and harm to our children.
Both times, my heart turned hard as stone, and I quit praying.
The Scriptures gave this remedy to a group of people who had lost home, money, family, and reputation, merely because they believed in Christ:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 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 10:23-25 NIV)."Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:23-24 NIV). #faith #Christianliving Click To Tweet
My friend Janice, whom I called for advice in 1995 when I realized that I had quit talking to God, phrased it thus: “Turn around and face God.”
How does one do that? How do we face God?
Maybe you’ve already quit going to church. Maybe you’ve stopped attending your Bible study or small group. Maybe you’re avoiding your Christian friends. Maybe the passage above, Hebrews 10:23-25, is exactly the opposite of what you think you should do as you struggle with doubt.
But, look at it this way:
Suppose you recently started a difficult task, let’s say training for a new profession while working full-time to support yourself and your family. The training will take years, but you start this journey enthusiastic, sure you can do it. You have no doubt. However, as time goes by, you grow discouraged. The task is incredibly difficult.
Your work time intrudes on your study time, and your class time intrudes on your work time. You hardly have time to see anybody you know, because you’re so busy. As a result, it’s easy to pull inward and to feel as if your goal is impossible to accomplish. Gradually you quit taking classes. You stop studying. You just can’t do it anymore. You give up.
Now imagine that, rather than pulling away from everyone who might have supported you emotionally, you instead confided in your friends and family that you were struggling with discouragement.
What would have happened?
They would have expressed their confidence that you could do it. They would have offered words of encouragement. They would have helped to lighten your load in some way, maybe by running an errand for you, picking up your kid at school, or helping out with some household tasks.
What if you had also told your fellow students about your struggles? I’m betting you would have discovered that you were surrounded by people in the same situation. You all could have encouraged one another to continue. When you finished the program together all of you would have been so proud of each other for pressing on and achieving your goal. You would have been closer to one another.
Just by reaching out, you would have had a tribe of your people supporting you. This would have given you hope, and you would have realized that you could do it. Your goal would have been attained.
This is exactly why the author of Hebrews wrote the above passage. The body of Christ, the Christian family, functions the same way: We confide in other believers when we’re discouraged. We lift up one another when we’re down. We tell other believers that we know they can press on. We remind each other of the help of the Holy Spirit. We come alongside and help when help is needed. We strive for the same goal. We need one another.
During times of doubt and temptation, don’t quit attending church but continue meeting with other believers. Let others know your needs. Be honest. Have warm fellowship with one another.During times of doubt and temptation, don't quit attending church but continue meeting with other believers. Let others know your needs. Be honest. Have warm fellowship with one another. #realChristianity #faith Click To Tweet
Therefore, if you’re one who is questioning your faith, I urge you to go back to church. Talk to your friends there and tell them how discouraged you are. If no one comes alongside you to encourage you and to lift you up, you need to go to a new church, because the body of Christ is supposed to help one another to press on.
Ask other Christian friends — kind, faithful, and loving friends — where they attend church. Go and be with them. Find real and authentic believers. Be authentic yourself. Let them know when you doubt or need help. Support them as they will support you. This is real Christianity.
Search for a church that lives this. Make these people your family. This is how Christ designed his people to live and to support one another.
You can do it! I know you can!Find real and authentic believers. Be authentic yourself. Let them know when you doubt or need help. Support them as they will support you. This is real Christianity. #realChristianity #faith Click To Tweet