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.
Who hasn’t experienced discouragement on their faith journey these last few years? We’ve faced unprecedented life changes due to the effects of the global pandemic that have affected us in every way. This includes how and where we worship. To protect each and continue to worship God, we have persevered with our churches being closed, online, open, and hybrid- both open and online. Meeting online together, or out of doors, in our small groups to discuss scripture and the work of the church, to fellowship together has required similar perseverance.
Change can cause people to feel disconnected, to shut down and disengage or give up. It can be discouraging as we to try to return to normal when we realize that ‘normal’ is no longer possible. When things fall apart and nothing seems to be working right, we feel discouraged. It can last for days or a season, but discouragement is not meant to be our permanent residence. If we stay discouraged for too long we eventually give up.
How do we persevere through these seasons of discouragement? The writer of Hebrews has three remedies in these verses for us who are facing times of discouragement in a season of change and transformation. First, don’t give up! God is faithful and will never leave us. God’s love for us and God’s promise of abundant and eternal life through Jesus Christ is the hope we hang onto through tough and discouraging times.
Next, let’s reach out and encourage each other on our spiritual journeys. The writer wants us to cheer each other on as we serve God, and share God’s love with others. Sharing our faith journeys in small groups is another important way to encourage each other, as is praying for each other.
Finally, attending worship, in person or online increases our feeling as a community of faith and we experience connection and support for each other as we follow Jesus. We are stronger together than alone.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Times of transformation often include seasons of discouragement that result from our unmet expectations and our need to control the outcome, when in reality God is taking us in a new direction. Trusting God, encouraging each other and worshipping God as a faith community will see us from our own discouragement to experience God’s transforming love in our lives.
Are you in a season of discouragement and transformation on your spiritual journey? Who do you know that needs encouragement on their spiritual journey? Is there a small group fellowship online or in person you can join so you can be supported and encouraged?
Prayer: Loving God, help us to turn to you and trust in your promises when we are discouraged. Teach us to look for and encourage others as we follow Jesus and call us into fellowship with each other so that we may be transformed by your love. Amen.
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