13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“We have to get back to basics.” That’s a phrase that coaches of professional teams often express when their team doesn’t do as well as it should or if they lose a game that they shouldn’t have lost.
The point of the phrase is that there is a core set of skills that matter and from that core set of skills the rest of the game flows.
If the basic skills of the players are solid then the team is in a great position to win, but if the basic skills are lacking it’s fairly likely that the team will lose.
I was thinking about that as I read this passage. As we start the last chapter, the writer of Hebrews wants us to realize that if Jesus is at the center of our hearts and minds, firmly rooted and grounded within us as Paul notes in his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 3.14-19), then everything else will find its right place. You’ll know how to live and care for one another, how to bless strangers, and care for those who are in prison (here Hebrews has in mind those who are imprisoned for their faith but it applies to those who are imprisoned for other reasons, including those imprisoned by their emotions, guilt, or otherwise), we’ll honor our leaders in faith, and money and sex will be seen as gifts from the Lord rather than something for our personal indulgence.
Everything will find its right place with Jesus at the center of our lives.
Why? Because Hebrews has been telling us all along that it’s about Jesus and the wonderful news is that Jesus doesn’t change. Verse 8, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
As N.T. Wright notes, “If we get our picture of Jesus right, the huge issues in the other verses will begin to fall in place.”
I want to encourage you to do everything possible to have your heart and mind centered on Jesus and then filter everything else through Him. You have already received a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 13.28) and Jesus has opened the way for us all to come.
If you’re looking for a great resource to help you center on Jesus, a good work to consider is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day—by Peter Scazzero. It’s a small devotional book that helps you practice the presence of God through short devotionals twice a day (usually called The Daily Office).
It’s simple and easy and I highly recommend you pick up a copy.
God bless you and know that I am praying for you constantly.