‘Tis the season… for holiday cheer, for brotherly love, for peace on earth and goodwill toward men… but we find that, in many cases, loneliness and sorrow creep up on people and cause this to be a time of grief and mourning, of hopelessness and despair. I must start off by not just acknowledging this but addressing it with the truth of God… that the whole reason for the season is that Jesus came to rescue anyone who will reach out to Him and welcome Him in!
The whole reason for the season is that Jesus came to rescue anyone who will reach out to Him and welcome Him in! #youarenotalone @toservemankindTweet
Jesus says in John 15:14-16:
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you…”
Proverbs 18:24 points to Jesus with, “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
In Revelation 3:20-21, we hear Jesus say:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
In Romans, the apostle Paul instructs us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” We are not some fair-weather family, but we are in this life together to the end… through all the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the successes and failures, the delights and disappointments.
We all have our own load to carry, but there are times that we are burdened with more than we can handle alone. It’s in those times that we must open up and trust one another in humility to help us carry the burden until it lifts. In Galatians 6:2, the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, instructs the family of God to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” And to be clear, I’ll reiterate that it isn’t only rejoicing with those who rejoice, but weeping with those who weep. Enter into another’s situation, their emotion, and appreciate that this is a difficult moment, and they shouldn’t be alone, because they have YOU.
This experience is not limited to any group of people. No one is excluded. Parishioner to pastor, plumber to president, people all need Jesus and all need spiritual family to strengthen and encourage them from time to time (and likely more often than we – or they – fully know).
The prophet Elijah experienced a tremendous victory over the so-called “prophets” of Baal, where he went overboard in proving the real God’s existence and power, with such bold ridicule of their false god, Baal, drenching the sacrifice over and over and inviting God into that circumstance. And then, seemingly mere moments later, fleeing to isolation, cowering in fear from the threats of Jezebel, imagining and subsequently feeling all alone, complaining to God about how terrible life is and asking to just die. THIS IS SERIOUS TALK! In The Church, we say, “faith speaks,” and it’s true, but I’ll tell you what is similarly true, “depression speaks.” Proverbs 18:21 cautions us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Same tongue, same speaker, but like the spring James writes about in chapter 3, verses 8-10, “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” We can essentially curse ourselves when we allow our words to create negative, reinforced realities for ourselves. These things ought not be so.
This is where the beautiful demonstration of life together comes in from one brother to another, as they remind you how powerful and present God is… how vested and eager He is to help you… how He is worthy of such praise… because when you speak in faith of His faithfulness, you will receive those benefits. And so when a compassionate friend and brother comes to you with this encouragement from Hebrews 6, don’t despise him for it. And as you encourage WITH Hebrews 6, administer it gently. Verses 11-12, “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.“