Handling Adversity ~ DAY 55

The author continues to exhort the recipients of this letter not to turn away from Christ but keep going no matter the sacrifice because knowledge of a better possession is the key to enduring suffering.  Note beginning in Hebrews 10:33 all that they formerly experienced and endured.  They were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions.  They were the target of ridicule, contempt, and shaming.  They were verbally insulted and abused.  They were willing to identify with other suffering Christians which only brought upon themselves more ill treatment.  Their personal possessions were seized and confiscated and yet they rejoiced.  How were these Christians able to do this and to not merely survive all this persecution, but to thrive in the midst of it?  It is all in what we know!  “Because you knew that you certainly had a better and lasting possession”  (Hebrews 10:34).

You and I must have this same confidence.  It is this deep and abiding confidence about what cannot be taken away from us that frees us from the fear and greed that kill love and joy.  We do not have to settle for what other human beings settle for:  safety and comfort and ease and fun and lots of possessions and money and free time to do what we want.  If we get that, we rejoice and if we do not, we complain.  But here were people living in the first century who rejoiced when they lot possessions and shared in sufferings.  The only thing at that time they were focused on was their “treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal”  (Matthew 6:20).  They knew that Jesus had gone to prepare a place for them to dwell with Him forever and that He would come back for them.  (See John 14:2-3)  Their focus had shifted from the temporary to the eternal.  As the author of Hebrews says toward the end of this letter, these Christians knew that “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come”  (Hebrews 13:14).

The actions of these Jews early on in their Christian walk was a direct result of their genuine faith.  Now the author is urging them to keep their confident faith and not throw it aside.  (See Hebrews 10:35-26)  This is a great and timely reminder to all of us that our life of faith is never static.  We are either digressing or progressing in living by faith.  At one time their faith was strong, but it had now grown weak and vulnerable to outside forces and they were in need of spiritual support and encouragement.

All of us, not matter where we are in our spiritual journey, can use encouragement as well as be an encouragement to others.  Those Christians who were once strong and walking in faith can become discouraged and susceptible to the world, the flesh, or the devil.  Those who were once struggling in faith could have experienced great and consistent growth and become spiritually healthy.  We all need to be there for one another consistently which is why the writer previously stated we should not abandon meeting together  (Hebrew 10:25).

Peter similarly encouraged his readers regarding the better possession.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  By His great mercy He gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.  It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials”  (1 Peter 1:3-6).