23 Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.
24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
We do not know who wrote the letter to the Hebrews—the letter made no claim of authorship. But we can tell it addressed people whose faith was wavering under social (and perhaps family) pressure. That was why it so strongly urged them to “hold on to” their hope “without wavering” (from a Greek work that meant to be off balance). It was important for them, as it often is for us, not to make the journey of faith and hope alone. We can encourage and support one another in holding on to hope.
- At times, our world feels just as hostile to our hope as the Roman Empire did to the Hebrews. “There is reason to hold firm even though the circumstances of life appear to be laughing at us, even though things have become difficult…. The One who made the promise is faithful and will not let us down. He does not count time in the short segments by which we count; therefore, we should not let momentary discouragement cause us to turn away.”* When has ridicule or opposition made your hope flicker? What helps you hold on without wavering?
- Hebrews urged Christians to meet together for a specific purpose. “Encourage each other,” said verse 25. When have you found strength and courage for life through the encouragement you received from other Christians? In what ways have you worked to develop the holy habit of consistently having an encouraging, hopeful impact on others?
Lord Jesus, thank you for the people with whom I share this spiritual journey, those who encourage me when life seems to be laughing at me and I need help to hold on to my hope. Amen.
* Louis H. Evans, Jr., The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 33: Hebrews. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985, p. 183.
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Dr. Amy Oden is Visiting Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality at Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.