Recently, we took what we consider a long vacation trip. Cruise control is a marvelous invention to keep a steady pace toward a particular place. I enjoy setting the cruise control and heading down the road, but the only problem becomes painfully apparent. Others do not set their pace to my pace, or they are not even going to the same place that I am going. For these reasons, states like West Virginia, which is incredibly mountainous, and cities like Chicago, with roads crossing from every direction cause one to bypass the cruise by pushing the accelerator or slamming on the brakes.
As Christians, we often need a nudge or two to be encouraged to go faster and further with Christ. We have a responsibility to go faster and further but if we’re honest, we aren’t always inclined to do so. It’s too easy to become complacent and settle (even unknowingly) into a sort of “spiritual cruise control”. One way we can go faster is by surrounding ourselves with others who will love us enough to push and hold us accountable. The truth is … real spiritual growth involves pushing the accelerator at times, and at other times slamming on the brakes.
As Hebrews tells us here, we need to continue meeting and encouraging each other all the more as we our time is but a few days here on this earth. As the world breaks down around us, we have ever more reason for Christian community to surround us. I believe that Reformers can be that place that will help any Christian get off of the cruise control pace, and be prepared to see Him face to face.
The world in which we live needs support groups of godly believers. Will you consider joining a class each Friday this year? I can promise you it will present opportunities that will stretch you and get you in a different pace, helping others to go to the same place you are going and take others to see His blessed face.
Additional comments on today’s verses:
The following is an excerpt from the John Phillips Commentary Series – Exploring Hebrews: An Expository Commentary.
I was brought up in Britain where most of the houses were not centrally heated; instead, each room had its own small fireplace. I well remember the good fire that was always kept burning in the fireplace of the living room whenever the weather was inclement and cold. The coals would be heaped up, and the flames would roar up the chimney. Occasionally we would take an iron poker and stir up the coals so that the air could circulate and the fire stay alive and hot. Once in a while a coal would fall down and roll off to one side. When it first fell it would be bright red and glowing with the fire. But after a short while-a very short while-the isolated coal would lose some of its luster. The glow would fade, and it would look dull and listless. Soon it became black with just a wisp or two of smoke ascending from it as evidence of its former heat, until presently it was cold enough to be picked up by hand.
That is the picture the writer has in mind. We are to exhort one another, stir one another up, keep the fires of the Spirit burning brightly. We need to be kept close together so that Christian warmth can be communicated back and forth from one member of the fellowship to another. And what a tragedy it is when we begin to stop attending the gatherings of those of like precious faith. We soon begin to lose our fervor. We grow, imperceptibly but surely, colder toward the things of God until, at last, for all the evidence there is of life, we are no different from the worldly, unsaved people around us.