Saturday, May 13, 2017, 8:08 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” I read Hebrews 13:1-6 (ESV).
Think of Others (vv. 1-3)
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.
What are some ways in which we can show brotherly love to others? If we see someone in need, we can reach out to help him or her with the needs. Part of this may involve ascertaining what the real needs are first, so we know how best to meet the needs. We can pay attention when people talk with us, remembering their names, and remembering specific things about them, to show that we care about them. We can do special things for people to let them know we appreciate them, especially during times when it is not expected (no special occasion). And, we can have neighbors over for a meal, or lend a helping hand, or take someone to the store, etc.
We should not be ingrown to where we only show hospitality to friends, co-workers, other Christians, neighbors and family members. But, we should open our hearts and homes to those we don’t know, too. We should show the love of Jesus to whomever he places in our lives or across our paths, and in whatever manner in which he chooses for us to show them his love and his grace. We should always exercise godly wisdom in whatever we do, but we should not be afraid to minister to strangers. And, included in this may be visiting inmates in prisons and sharing with them the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In addition, we should be concerned for all people who are being mistreated, abused, and taken advantage of. If there is any way we can minister to them, we should, as the Lord leads, and we should pray for the downtrodden, too. As well, we should remember the saints of God (believers in Jesus) throughout the world who are suffering persecution, hardship, and abuse in various forms because of their stand on the Word of Truth, because of their love and service to Jesus Christ, and because they share the gospel so that others might be saved. Many are being hunted down like they are animals, and bombs are being dropped on them, or they are being forced out of their homes into camps where they are ill-treated, so we should pray for their strengthening and courage.
Love Does No Harm (v. 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.
What does it look like to hold marriage in honor? It means to show your marriage and your spouse absolute respect, value, and high regard, especially in public, or in front of others, as well as privately, and to treat the marriage relationship with decency, morality, uprightness, and dignity. As well, it entails keeping (holding to) the marriage vows with all integrity, truthfulness and faithfulness. Nothing destroys a marriage more than unfaithfulness and lies (deception, cover-ups, or justifications).
And, this is not just about not having sexual relations with another individual, but it also includes not looking at another lustfully, especially in front of your spouse, not thinking lustful thoughts about others, not flirting with another, and not viewing pornography, or magazines, movies, or TV shows with partially clad people of interest, or with sexual situations or sexual humor. It also involves no sexting, and no intimate conversations with another to whom you are not married, i.e. no private texting or chatting without your spouse’s knowledge, and with someone of the opposite sex or same sex attraction. I would include in this also not watching romantic movies or reading romantic novels where you find yourself longing for such a relationship with someone other than your spouse, and which makes you dissatisfied with your own marriage.
You don’t have to have physical sexual relations with another in order for your marriage bed to be defiled. It is defiled whenever you dishonor your marriage and your spouse by all or by most all of what I just mentioned. And, it continues to be defiled as long as you lie to your spouse and/or withhold from your spouse what is his or her right to know, i.e. if you are cheating on him or her either physically, emotionally or mentally. And, I have to include masturbation in this list, too, because that is a selfish act which involves choosing self-gratification over the marriage bed.
Yet, if our spouse does commit adultery against us in any one of these ways, we need to be willing to forgive, and to lovingly encourage faithfulness, and to work toward the healing of the relationship, as much as it is within our power to do so. We need to pray for our spouse and always hold out hope for better days to come.
Be Contented (vv. 5-6)
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.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
You know, this fits with adultery, too, because when someone turns to lust, pornography, masturbation, sexting or romantic or sexual affairs, etc., in place of faithfulness to marriage and spouse, it is because the person is not content with his or her spouse, and so is looking to have their needs met outside the marriage, and outside the marriage bed. So, similar counsel needs to be given here, too, in that we should learn to be content with the one to whom we are married, and we should pursue that relationship rather than looking elsewhere for satisfaction and pleasure.
Yet, with regard to the love of money, this actually entails much more than just money, but it has to do with extreme greed for money or for material things, never satisfied with what we have, but always wanting more and more. In America I know this is a huge problem because we are an affluent nation with so much stuff, food, entertainment, possessions, hobbies, etc., but the more people buy the more they think they need until we have houses and closets full of stuff no one really needs, i.e. we have houses, garages, attics and closets full of excess.
So, the counsel here is to be content with what we have, and to not seek after or worship, idolize, lust for, prefer, or long for what we don’t have, or what is not ours to have, or what we can’t really afford, or what would just be filling our barns with excess while others go without the basic necessities of life.
We should trust the Lord to meet all our needs, and we need to be generous in giving to others as they have need, too. Instead of being selfish, we need to be those who make a practice of being selfless. And, we need to not fear that our needs will not be met if we don’t take matters into our own hands. God knows what we need, and he will supply, not what we want, necessarily, or what we might decide that we need, but he will take care of us, so we should never be afraid. He will work all things out for good for those who love him, so we rest in him.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.