Isn't it funny how God speaks the same words to us over and over to get things across to us? Over the last couple days, I have been reading through scriptures and keep being brought back to this particular passage. Yesterday morning, in Sunday School we spoke about the "comfort zone" we are in in the church setting and then the morning sermon actually began in the early parts of the chapter and the passage was brought to my mind once again. The passage for today comes from Hebrews 13:13-17..."Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (14) For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (15) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (17) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
We are called to step out of our comfort zones and reach those who are outside of the safe walls. And, it doesn't say to reach only to those who openly want to hear about it either...it says to bear reproach. We are not bearing reproach for the sake of dealing with pain, but rather for our Lord, who bore the ultimate reproach.
We are also reminded that while we are here, the things are only for a season. We seek a city to come that "continues" or lasts forever. That is why we should set our sights and affections on things above. By our Lord, we should offer up our praise, sacrificially. That means letting go of ourselves and letting everything we have, everything we do, and everything we say honor Him. I can see the marquee sign of a church that stuck in my mind..."Let Go and Let God"...can't put it any simpler than that.
It continues in verse 16 with not forgetting to do good and communicate...that means sharing the testimony of what HE has done...for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Do you consider your good deeds and conversation as a sacrifice? I thought about that. If we aren't giving up something it's not really a sacrifice, is it? If we take the credit, we should be careful. Read Daniel chapter 4...King Nebuchadnezzar was very proud of the kingdom he himself had made with his own hands, after his dreams were told him by Daniel. He thought he was "all that" and had to be brought down a notch or two to come to a realization and give God the glory. It's not any fun having to go through trials and struggles to learn where the glory goes, but sometimes is necessary. If we are giving glory and "sacrificing" receiving the praise, God will be pleased.
And finally, this one can be tough...submit yourselves and obey them that have rule over you. This is another sacrifice we must make. This is not only concerned with work, either. We must keep our avenues of accountability and responsibility in order. We also have people set out to keep "watch" over us in places of authority. They should be able to look at our work and be joyful, not grieving the time together. The final line puts it well..."for that is unprofitable to you". It is unprofitable for us to leave a "bad taste" in people's minds when they think back on us.
So, get out of your comfort zone...do good and share what God has done...submit yourself and obey authority...for it is profitable for you.
Please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today...