November 16

Hebrews 10:25, 35-36 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

It is an epidemic in the church today. The worldly attitude of not being bothered has found a place in the hearts of many Christians. Stay at home Christians probably outnumber those that worship together. For many it began when they were offended by something that happened where they found fellowship. It may have been a pastor that was immoral, an accountant that cheated, or power struggle that became ugly. Instead of realizing that flesh had gained one small victory, they counted the war for encouraging fellowship lost. Instead of striving all the more to make that fellowship strong and safe, they retreated to the comfort and predictability of their home. "I can watch a TV preacher." It was a problem in the first century also, (minus the TV) because people are prone to sin.

Fellowship isn't safe! Neither is God! God and the fellowship of believers will challenge you, test you, and change you. We need that to learn and mature. Instead of allowing the trials and tests to mature us, we often retreat to our cave and hole up so that our heart won't be hurt again. That is the way of stagnation. There is a fellowship of believers that needs you, and you need a fellowship of believers. The trials will strengthen you and increase your faith.

If you aren't in a fellowship of believers now, ask yourself why. Don't throw away your confidence in what God can do in you and through your brothers and sisters in Christ. Stick it out! Pray it through. Be a part of the positive, encouraging transformation of your local fellowship. God has promised to bless you for it. The author of these verses warned us that as we approach the Lord's return, it is even more necessary to meet together for encouragement. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Consider: How can I encourage others where I fellowship?