It is said that we are what we eat. Our diet and nutrition are huge factors in how well our physical bodies function and stay healthy. Well the same thing can be said for our spiritual body. The spiritual nourishment we give ourselves, or the lack thereof, is directly linked to our spiritual health and well-being. This is why our author of Hebrews states in 13:9, “Do not be carried away by all sorts of strange teaching. For it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not ritual meals, which have never benefitted those who participated in them.”
Let’s not forget that the recipients of this letter were thinking seriously about going back to the rituals and regulations under the law rather than continuing to pursue Christ. They are reminded here that those practices were preparatory in pointing one to Christ, but that having embraced Christ and turning back would result in spiritual decay and disaster. Why? Because in God’s plan there was a day when these practices were profitable but now that Christ has come, they have no bearing or benefit upon the soul. Everything we need can be found in Christ. For example, there was a day in our lives where “baby food” was acceptable and beneficial, but as we grow into adulthood, we must lay aside the baby food and adjust our nutrition accordingly. Spiritually the same principle applies.
God’s purpose once we accept Christ as our Savior is to establish us in grace, not rules, regulations, or rituals. They do not strengthen us in anyway or provide the needed nourishment to remain spiritual healthy. What is most beneficial is when we are continually growing in grace. It is through grace that we become strong and remain strong. The word “strengthened” in 13:9 describes an inner strength supplied to us from an outside source – God in this case. It is a strength that can withstand the pressures being applied from outside so that one does not “crack under pressure.”
This quality of strength is vital in our lives always, but it is especially crucial during times of crisis, distress, and adversity. As the pressure surrounding us mounts and builds, we need to possess an inner strength that can hold up and prevail against the forces in the world pressing around us. God’s remedy or prescription for this acute situation is His all-sufficient grace. The influx of God’s grace will strengthen our hearts, which is the very foundation and fountain of our spiritual life. Grace describes God’s supply that is supernatural and capable of strengthening us and supporting us in any situation in which we find ourselves.
Most people regard Paul as one of the greatest Christians to ever live and the testimony from his own lips as to how he could live so victoriously in the face of such adverse circumstances was the grace of God – plain and simple. “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). God’s grace provides the inner power for believers to walk in victory rather than defeat. It is how we get strong and remain strong. The gravity of grace flows into the humble of heart. “God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). When we live humbly before God, depending and relying upon Him each and every day, grace will continually flow, and we will have the strength to prevail against the pressures of life.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the honor both now and on that eternal day!” (2 Peter 3:18)