The believers were scattered and facing persecution when James wrote to them to encourage them in their trials. They struggled to have joy, well aware of their need for wisdom in the difficult things of life. Have you ever been alone in the midst of trying times? Trials are hard enough, but facing them without community is harder.
Accept His community challenge
The message of the book of Hebrew resonates with the echo of encouragement to be full off faith in trials. Tucked inside the tenth chapter of the book, God reveals a key choice that may determine how steadfast we are as individuals. Choose to regularly assemble in one place with others who follow Him. He challenges us to practice this habit in order to be faithful in hard times.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Accept the community urgency
As followers of God recognize the Day of His return coming closer, they will face hardships that tempt them to move from hope to hopeless. Just identifying themselves as a member of His Body may come with a price tag, and they may give us coming together. Some Christ followers will drift away from a culture of love and doing kingdom things. More than ever, God wants the community of faith to gather together to encourage each other to be firm in their faith. By gathering together as His people, we remember who we are in Christ, who God is, why we have power instead of fear, and how light overcomes darkness.
Accept no community substitute
In this day, a scattered community of believers has more ways than ever to overcome isolation. It’s never been easier to network globally, but it’s never been easier to give up “meeting together,” which has the idea of assembling together in one physical place. Technology complements and creates community networks, but it doesn’t take the place of “meeting together.” There’s power in physical presence. We can not experience in reality what we only envision virtually.
Just as God became “God with us,” He urges us to be with each other. He set the precedent of relationship in community. Let’s keep on:
- gathering together regularly
- in local communities of believers
- to spur each other on
- to living out our faith
- right up until the Day is here!
We will be faithful to the faithful One when we meet together faithfully.