This verse in Hebrews doesn’t seem to tell the whole story in and of itself, does it? Once again, this is why we read the entire chapter, instead of just the one verse.
Before these words, the writer of this letter spoke of how God disciplines His followers just as parents do their children. The idea was to encourage believers to not give up their faithwalk because they were receiving discipline from the Father, that the desired result of that correction was that we would share in His holiness.
We are corrected by God so that we share in His holiness.
Then, these words, “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”
Makes a little more sense now: we who are believers receive discipline, as do the believers we know. That discipline isn’t pleasant. If often hurts. It is upon us to acknowledge that painful transformation and be cognizant of the struggle others are having and not write them off as jerks and clowns. (And hope for the same from them when we act that way.)
We’re to WORK for these two things, living in peace and living a holy life, and we do this because those who are not holy, set apart by and for God, will not see Him. They need to see transformed us.
This transformation from unholy to holy begins with salvation and continues throughout life as a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. We can make it easier for ourselves by complying with God and accepting the discipline He gives, making the changes necessary to be His set-apart follower and child. We can make it easier for other believers when we love them through their learning process, helping them to understand that God’s discipline is only given to those He truly loves.
We are called to be set apart (holy) as God is set apart. We’re to be different. Sometimes we slip into the ways of this world in which we live. Sometimes we need to have that pointed out by the One who is truly set apart so that we can correct our course and remain set apart.
Let’s be prepared today to accept the correction of the Lord and to be kind and loving to those believers who are experiencing correction from Him. Let’s cheer them on, encouraging them to hold on, to know that love is being poured out on them even though it doesn’t feel like the love we have learned about in this world.
Work at living in peace. Work at living a holy life.
Some extra thoughts…
It is not easy to be disciplined. I don’t know about you, but my parents would say “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” I think I’ve probably said that to my boys, too. And we weren’t talking about corporal punishment, but talking about having to make corrections, having to interrupt their desires and pleasures in order to get the attention and to change that course where we wanted it to be. It hurts the one who’s having to do it. Mainly because the behavior that needs to be corrected hurts the one who needs to do the correction.
Holy doesn’t mean what a lot of us think it means. When we look back in the first five books of the Bible, we realized that what God is talking about as being holy is this being set apart. We realize that our God is more. Bigger, brighter, more powerful, more everything than anything else in the universe. He is set apart because he is God. He is different. He is more. We, as his followers, are to emulate him, we are to look like him and behave like him.
But that doesn’t mean acting like we know everything. And it doesn’t mean acting like we’ve got all the strength to do everything on our own. No, it means that we’re supposed to act with this love, when things are not lovely. When people are not lovely, we’re supposed to love them. It’s to do all these things that God has laid out in his book, so that we are seen as different and set apart: Holy. That’s what living this holy life is about.
When we live that life, people who don’t know the Lord wonder what’s going on with them? Why do you behave like that? Why don’t you come back at those remarks? Why don’t you? or Why do you? And that is the opportunity for us to share where our strength, where our comfort, where our truth comes from. And hopefully, those who don’t know him, will come to know him, because we have lived set apart lives.
See, that’s our job day in and day out, to glorify the Father. And we do that by being obedient to his word, which means being set apart, just as he is set apart. Being holy does not mean never making a bad choice. Being holy does not mean speaking all the right words at all the right places at all the right times. No, it means being set apart, being different, being recognized as belonging to God Almighty. Isn’t that a weight lifted?
There are no checkboxes that are going to make us holy. It’s the spending time in his presence and obeying His Word. It’s letting him come in and direct and guide and listening to his word and being who he made us to be, walking in the path that he has laid out for us instead of the one that we want to choose. It’s all about that surrender thing. We keep coming back to that, don’t we?
I know that you can do this living a peaceful life. I know that you can do this living a holy life. You can I believe in you. And better than that God Almighty believes in you. He does.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
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