Read: Hebrews 12:14-29 

What will it take for you to remain faithful to King Jesus? What will it take for you to remain a loyal citizen of Christ’s Kingdom from this day forward? Reading the Bible every morning and listening to music that has a spiritual focus are good practices. But “spiritual disciplines” only done in private will not guarantee faithfulness over the long haul. Life’s challenges are just too great to survive as a “Lone Ranger Christian.” There is one other item that is essential for the care and nurture of our souls. You can see it for yourself in our passage for the week, Hebrews 12:14-29. 

Throughout our study of the Letter to the Hebrews, the writer has frequently made an appeal to persevere in the faith in one form or another. In verses 12 and 13 he challenged the original readers to get back in the race toward the ultimate manifestation of Christ’s Kingdom. He used the metaphor of a tired runner, who binds up scratched hands and weak knees, and starts out in the race once again. And then in verses 14 through 29 this same writer gives more specifics as to how we might persevere. Please make some quick observations from the text, and then you will see this essential item that is necessary for your own soul-care.
  • You will want to notice that the writer is speaking to a group, not just to one person. He is speaking to people who have been overwhelmed with life issues and who were considering giving up on the faith. 
  • Then you will want to notice that there are three primary challenges—all in the present tense, and implying ongoing action. In verse 14 we are told to “continually” pursue peace and holiness in the context of accountability. In verse 25 we are challenged to “continually” listen to the One who has spoken from heaven, namely Jesus the Messiah (cf. HEB 2:2-4). In the past He has spoken the words of eternal life, but in the future He will call for judgment upon on the earth (cf. HEB 12:26-27). And then in verses 28-29 the writer exhorts his readers to “continually” worship the God who is holy, and who will purify the earth as only He can. 
What’s the point? If you read the text again, the writer never once tells us to do any of these three things by ourselves. Our faith is to be lived out in community. We are to pursue peace and holiness in community (vv. 14-24). We are to listen to the word of God in community (vv. 25-27). And we are to worship in community (vv. 28-29). You see, IF WE ARE GOING TO PERSEVERE, OUR PERSEVERANCE HAS TO BE A COMMUNITY AFFAIR. 

Be honest, are you living in community with other believers? What I mean is, are you sharing life with a small group of Christians where you pray for one another, encourage one another, study the Word together, and worship together? If not, your soul is in danger! I will be the first to admit that this is a hard thing for some of us to do. We can be “very private people.” We are reluctant to share our struggles with others, fearing that they might judge us or think ill of us. But you and I will not “run the race” toward Christ’s Kingdom until we turn away from our self-centeredness, and live in community. 

So make a decision right now to make weekly worship with other Christians a priority. Make a decision today to contact your pastor and see how you might get involved in a small group. And by all means, make a decision to serve Christ with the gifts and talents He has entrusted to your care. Community is NOT an option. Community is the key to persevering in both the good times and challenging times of life.

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