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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hebrews, Day 35: Hebrews 10:23-25 - How Can We Grow in Faith and Confidence?

How Can We Grow in Faith and Confidence?
Hebrews, Day 35

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 
- Hebrews 10:23-25, ESV

My boys are both playing football for the first time this year. They're on the same team and I'm one of their coaches. Our team has lots of first-year players, and so we've been focusing on growth rather than success. (I'm also an Orioles fan, so I understand the need to focus on growth rather than success.) For our players to grow, they need to work on their physical conditioning, their understanding of the game, their knowledge of the playbook, their technique, their timing, and their coordination as a team. In each of these areas, we are excited to see growth. 

So, how do we grow as Christians? How can we grow in our faith and confidence in Christ? Much of Hebrews so far has been focused on displaying the superiority of Christ. Then, the author Hebrews has turned from the superiority of Christ to what it means to really trust Him and have confidence in Him. Now, before he gives a warning at the end of chapter 10, he gives some brief words about how to grow in our faith and confidence. 

Step 1: Hold fast. The first thing we must do to grow is to hold fast to what we know is true. We must continue to believe in the astounding promises of the Gospel. We have no reason to waver because God is faithful and never changes. God's promises will never fail because they are anchored in His strong and unfailing character, and so our hope in them should be steadfast and persevering, no matter what trials we face. 

Step 2: Stir up one another. We must hold fast, but we cannot stand still. We need to be continually encouraging and prompting one another toward love and good works. In other words, we need to be helping each other live out the faith we have inside. 

Step 3: Keep meeting together. In order to be able to stir up one another, we need to be meeting together. Gathered church worship is not an optional add-on to the Christian life. It is vitally important to our growth in faith and assurance. As we gather together, we have opportunity to encourage one another to hold onto the hope we have in Christ, to remain steadfast under trials. 

It sounds simple, doesn't it? Hold fast to our hope, stir up one another to love and good deeds, and keep meeting together to encourage one another more and more. It is simple, and yet our adversary knows how vitally important these things are for our growth, and so he never stops attacking with doubts and distractions. His attacks make our perseverance more difficult and more vital. 

In the midst of our struggle to persevere, we have this final word of encouragement in today's passage: The Day is drawing near. We are one day closer to seeing Jesus face-to-face today than we were yesterday, one week closer than we were last week. Life goes by quickly, but that means we are quickly drawing closer to the Great Day of the Lord, and that should keep us running together and encouraging each other.

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