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Believers, Strangers, and Prisoners

Hebrews 13 is the end of a book, but it's the beginning of the reader's obedience. Read the first three verses:

No matter what, make room in your heart to love every believer. 2 And show hospitality to strangers, for they may be angels from God showing up as your guests. 3 Identify with those who are in prison as though you were there suffering with them, and those who are mistreated as if you could feel their pain. 

 The Passion Translation, (BroadStreet Publishing, 2017), Heb 13:1–3.

I remember my 8th grade Bible teacher asking our class this question: "What is true love?". It was interesting to hear the answers he got back from the class. Some kids said love was when you had a crush on someone or when you got butterflies in your stomach. But I remember thinking that love was much more than a feeling. I didn't have a good answer that day, but my understanding of love has expanded as I've grown with the Lord. 

In these verses, we are reading the heart's desire of the writer. He pleads with his day's believers to walk in love for everyone they meet. He says that being a follower of Christ requires love for everyone. Later in this chapter, he reminds us that Jesus was our example of true love because He suffered and died to make us Holy. 

Giving love is the least we can do because it's the greatest undeserved gift we've ever received. 

But who do we love? 

1) Believers - this should come naturally. But guess what? Believers are hard to love sometimes! It's because believers aren't perfect. They need grace and mercy that leads us to forgive their shortcomings time after time. If we can master loving followers of Christ, then we will find we've become a family working together to accomplish more than we ever thought we could. Loving believers leads us to unity in the Body of Christ. We must love each other. 

2) Strangers - this one doesn't come naturally. Family is one thing because we can't get rid of them, but strangers are easy to forget about because we can ignore them. I know a woman who amazes me; she has never met a stranger. Everywhere she goes, it seems like she has friends. I've asked, "How do you know that person?" she says, "I don't!". But she has the heart of Christ beating in her soul, and the love she carries spills over to everyone she meets. We should walk through the crowd slowly, looking for strangers needing love. When we do, we find love in return. 

3) Prisoners - this one seems far-fetched! But it's not; the writer is reminding us that other people are having difficulties. They are being attacked, beaten up, locked up, and abused for the sake of the Good News of Jesus. All around this world, Christians are being persecuted for the sake of Christ. We should pray for them and ask the Lord to fight their battles, keep them strong in faith, and allow His glory to shine through their persecution. We know the enemy is defeated, and Christ brings victory, but we are still fighting a battle even though the outcome has already been determined. We need to fast and pray for those on our faith's front lines. 

This scripture is the end of a chapter but the beginning of our obedience. Let's determine to love other believers, strangers, and prisoners! 

1 comentário

01 de jan.

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