Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
There’s all the difference in the world between describing what it means to ride a bicycle and actually helping somebody get on the seat and pedal away. Making a cake seems to be fairly straightforward when I look at the recipe books, but I haven’t had much success in making one that actually tastes right! What I need is hands-on guidance: somebody to do it in front of me and then allow me to try my hand at it too.
The moral instruction provided for us in Hebrews 13 is to be trained and formed in our lives not by learning to apply abstract principles but as a result of seeing these principles worked out in the family of faith. We can read, for example, about what it means to love one another, but it is far better to observe such love in the lives of loving people. We can understand that we’re supposed to care for strangers, but we can experience it firsthand if we’re brought up in a home where such care is faithfully practiced. We can read the principles and demands for sexual purity, but we will do far better if we are raised in a flourishing home where they’re modeled or are able to sit in such homes as we visit other families in our church. The list goes on and on.
Establishing these ethical norms is demanding. It takes time, patience, and involvement. They cannot be achieved by watching a video or reading an article. If information was enough to bring about transformation, then all we would need to do is write it down or say it. But you can’t learn love, honor, and faithfulness from the content on a screen. No, if you are to be content, pure, loving, and hospitable, then that is going to have to be discovered and worked out in the family of faith.
Look, then, to your brothers and sisters who exemplify Christlikeness in these ways. Read Hebrews 13:1-4 again, praise God for those you know who live these verses out, and then be sure to learn from them so that in these ways you become like them. Make it your aim to so follow their example that you, like Paul, might humbly be able to say to others, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). What will that look like this week?
Questions for Thought
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Topics: Christian Living Discipleship The Local Church
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,