Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 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.
It is a fact of life that it is easier to accomplish a task with the help of another person than it is to accomplish that same task alone. We benefit from the encouragement, the shared responsibility, and a different perspective that a second person brings to the task. Working with other people makes us more productive and less exhausted than trying to take the world on by ourselves.
One of the great tragedies that many of us face in life is that we take life on alone. This is especially true when it comes to following Jesus. We make following Jesus about “my personal relationship” with God and we neglect the important part other people can play in that relationship.
The author of the book of Hebrews was very much aware of the importance fellowship plays in our lives. He wrote to a community of believers who were being tempted to abandon their faith because of persecution. One of the ways the author offers to combat their discouragement is to live in fellowship. That is one of the truths we discover in Hebrews 10:19-25.
Did you notice the phrase that kept popping up in this passage? It was the phrase “let us”. The author of Hebrews is urging his readers to remember that they are following Jesus together and that they are not to approach life, even their relationship with God, alone.
We need people in our lives who we pray for on a daily basis, who pray for us daily, and with whom we raise the same requests to God. Prayer helps us build a connection, not only with God, but also with each other. It invites God into our lives and reminds us that we are part of a larger story.
We also need people in our lives with whom we study God’s Word and share the experiences of God working in our lives. It is important to hear the perspective of another person, for they might be able to open a door into truth that we have overlooked. Hearing what God is doing in and through the lives of our friends reminds us that we are not alone and that God is still at work redeeming this world, even if we cannot see evidence of this reality for ourselves.
Finally, we need people in our lives who will encourage us to live a life of faith. When we are by ourselves it is easy to remain in our comfort zone, but being with other people has the ability to infuse us with the courage we need to do something we ordinarily wouldn’t do. I am sure that if you thought about it you can think of a time when a person, or a group of people, was able to get you to do something you normally wouldn’t even think about doing. While this has negative consequences when we are pressured to do evil, it has positive consequences when we are encouraged to love and serve people.
The bottom line, the writer of Hebrews tells us, is that we need to be part of a community of faith. This is more than just being a member of a local church, this is about having a group of friends who speak truth and love into the lives of one another. The life of a disciple is a life that is lived in fellowship. Fellowship simply means a small group of people doing life together. As we examine our lives I am certain we will discover that this is the time of life that our hearts crave.