Be encouraged; seek unity; love one another; These three statements are becoming increasingly difficult to live. Yet, throughout the New Testament we are told to live this way. How are we to be encouraged when looking at the direction of this world, unless one chooses to live in ignorance? How is one to seek unity when every issue is so divisive? How are we to love one another in such a fractured world? i don’t pretend to know all the answers but let me at least point us in a direction to explore.
Be encouraged. There’s a war, rumors of wars, violence of every kind, inflation at never before seen levels, pandemics, a food shortage brewing, and the list could continue. So how exactly is one to “be encouraged?” Here are a few verses to ponder. John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 “For Elohim did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Adonai Yahshua ha’Mashiah, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort (encourage) each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” Here is one that i find personally encouraging, Luke 21:28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Seek unity. We are being divided by, race, gender identity, social economic classes, political affiliation, vaccine status, pro this or anti that, and the absolute vitriol that comes from certain sides is frightening as it is full of unseen hypocrisy by those spewing it. Yet, let us consider these words. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Is this calling us to compromise? Not at all! Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Elohim’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Later in this passage it says; “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18). This brings us to . . .
Love one another. How do you love someone who seemingly hates you? How do you show love to one who uses you or is evil? The Romans passage continues (12:19-21) “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of Elohim, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says YWHW. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Colossians 3:12-14 puts it this way; “Therefore, as chosen ones of Elohim, holy and beloved, put on compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other if anyone has a complaint against another, indeed as Messiah forgave you so also should you forgive.”
There is one point i feel needs to be made. When talking about unity, or love, or encouraging one another, in the context of the Church it is done to and for the unity of the Body of Believers. It is through our love for fellow believers of the WAY, that we achieve unity in the Body of Messiah and are able to truly encourage one another. It is in this genuine fellowship that those that are not of the WAY see us as a light on a hill, set apart, different. And in that we hope for the opportunity to share the Gospel of our Messiah Yahshua. Yes, we love everyone. Yes, we encourage, and yes we seek to live in unity with all, however, not at the expense of our commitment to holiness found in Yahshua ha’Mashiah.
Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25
You are loved,