You see, I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad thing that happened to me. —Gatsby in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Here are some things I wish came with a handbook: raising teenagers, replying to abrasive comments on Facebook, and deciphering a mechanic’s estimate.
I’ve met more than my fair share of people who wish the same for their faith. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there existed a book for those bored with religion and struggling to stay the course? Where is the handbook for those who are weary from walking?
Good news: The main message of Hebrews is “Don’t give up! Stay the course! Jesus is better than anything you’d turn back toward!”
The audience of Hebrews was struggling. Following Jesus wasn’t easy. The faith of their childhood had been left behind. Persecution had come. Synagogue prayers had even been rewritten to curse followers of Jesus. And so the book of Hebrews exhorts these young believers in three ways (Hebrews 10:23-25):
- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
- Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
- [Don’t give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…
Keep hoping! Keep encouraging! Keep going!
So the shortest handbook for keeping the faith might read like this: “We are in this together.”
Truly, Jesus designed it so the body of Christ is strongest when together. When hard times come, remind one another to fix all eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). When you’d prefer to stay home on a Sunday morning, fix your eyes on Jesus. When you aren’t sure God hears you or sees you, fix your eyes on Jesus. Let everything else fall into your peripheral. Just focus on Jesus because He is infinitely better than anything we’ve given up.
Jesus, perhaps it’s been years since I put my hope in You, and I’ve been tempted to take it back and deposit it elsewhere. Let me name the reasons I’ve been tempted to drift. And then strengthen the eyes of my soul so I stay focused on You. Amen.