I took a personality profile in college that pegged me as a “doer.” This wasn’t news to me, or anyone that knew me. I am an “action-y” person. I get things done. I don’t let dust settle on me, as the saying goes. I think I have viewed my walk with God through the doer’s personality lens. Working on my faith has always been another thing on my to-do list, until I came across this beautiful truth tucked into the first part of Hebrews 12 – Jesus (not myself) is the Perfecter of my faith.
Fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. – Hebrews 12:2
According to this verse, my part is to fix my eyes on Jesus. That’s my sole action item. His part is to begin, continue and finish my faith. I had never before thought that anyone other than myself was in charge of my faith! Other Scripture backs this up – He is the Potter; I am the clay. He does the filling; I get filled. He is the Vinedresser; I am the branch. Just like so many times in my walk with God, another piece of the puzzle slipped into place. Perfecting my faith? That’s His action item.
PONDER: Have you assumed you were the perfecter of your faith? How does this verse change your perspective?
PRAYER: Father, thank You that your yoke is easy and your burden is light! Forgive me when I take Your job of perfecting my faith into my own hands. I realize now that I have a lifelong habit of attempting to do Your job for You. Help me instead to keep my eyes fixed on You while You continue and finish what You have started.
I don’t remember meeting Rahab until college. To be honest, I don’t remember thinking much about her then. I didn’t feel like we had much in common, what with her past and all.
I met her again last summer in a small group setting. She invited us into her home, into her life, to get to know her. She wore no Christian mask and was refreshingly lacking a facade of any kind. She was honest with us about her past. She was open about the choices she has made. As I listened to her story again last summer, she allowed me to ask questions (some of them pretty personal!) and through our time together I finally felt like I connected with this precious sister.
I found myself drawn to her belief in a God she had only heard rumors about. I was convicted as that belief turn to remarkably actionable faith in Him. I was inspired by her all-in obedience to God and her trust in His faithfulness from the first days of her knowing Him.
I saw her in a new light through my friends’ connections with her, as well. “A woman with a past is a woman with a future if she follows God,” one friend said of Rahab after the week was over. Another friend commented, “She took care of God’s people and we should, too.” Still another remarked how impressed she was that Rahab was such a good housekeeper (for her pantry was full) as well as a woman prepared (for that readiness allowed her to do what the Lord called her to do the moment He asked).
You, too, are invited to spend a week getting to know Rahab at her place. Please join her by clicking here.
I’ve known Eve all my life. She’s pretty famous. She’s the subject in many beautiful works of art. She’s been written and talked about for centuries. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to meet someone that hasn’t heard of her.
Even though I’ve known her all my life, Eve and I never truly connected until last summer. We spent an intense week together really getting to know one another. We connected at first as followers of God. There were many “you, too?!” moments as we shared our walks with the Lord (that too often more accurately resemble stumbles). We connected as parents of grown children. We connected as wives. It was refreshing to learn that I shared so much in common with this sister-in-Christ.
I want to introduce you to my friend, Eve. I want you to connect with her on a personal level. I want you to experience how truly relatable my new friend is to you, too.
Spend a week connecting with Eve through my five day Bible Study here.
The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. (google.com)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2, ESV)
A more direct translation of Hebrews 13:2 is, “Of hospitality be not forgetful, through this indeed unawares some have entertained angels.” That word – hospitality – is translated from the Greek philoxenia. According to Dr. Mike Burer, “It’s a compound word which combines the noun for friend (philos) and a noun which could mean either hospitality or stranger/alien (xenia). Put them together and you get the idea: either treating a stranger like a friend, or providing hospitality to a friend.”
Based on the rest of the verse, this is the idea the author of Hebrews was instructing his audience of late 1st century Christians: Treat strangers like friends. In the context of the late 1st century, this probably meant inviting traveling strangers into your home to eat and sleep. I would be unlikely to invite complete strangers into my home to stay. It’s a condition of the times. So how can a modern Christian live out this exhortation?
When I see my friends, I greet them warmly. I want them to know I am happy to see them! I ask them about their lives, and I listen with interest. And I often do invite them into my home – frequently to eat, and occasionally to sleep. I cheerfully take on the house-cleaning and food preparation that signals to my guests: I am glad you are here! I want you to feel happy and comfortable. I want you to stay as long as you’d like. I am sensitive to your needs and will do what I can to accommodate you.
I do not often extend this to strangers with which I have occasion to interact. My introverted nature is on high alert in the presence of strangers, and it takes an extreme amount of energy to break through that self-imposed barrier to treat strangers as friends, especially when the interpersonal stakes and potential for rejection are high. Too often, I think to myself, “Someone more extroverted and well-spoken will greet that new person at church”, or, “That person probably doesn’t want to talk to me anyway,” or frequently, “Rather than get stuck in a conversation consisting of mind-numbing small talk with someone I don’t know, I’ll just sit here and look at my phone like I’ve got something terribly important to do….”
When Ericka asked me to write my thoughts on hospitality, I was planning on writing my thoughts on how to be a good hostess, and although related to hospitality, being a good hostess does not necessarily make one hospitable. For those friends I do invite into my home, I manage quite well as a hostess. I find it enjoyable – the planning, the preparation, the eating and drinking and the merry-making. It fills up my heart to make other people happy with food and conversation. But am I extending this to those who I do not (yet) call my friends? To strangers and newcomers? Or do I hide behind my sinful nature, afraid of rejection or unpleasant entanglement?
As with all other virtues, I will never perform this perfectly. I will practice hospitality. I would like to be a more hospitable person to strangers. How wonderful it is when you are the stranger, and someone makes you feel warmly welcomed! It is such a spirit-lifting experience to make a connection with a stranger who smiles at you, talks to you, asks you about yourself and seems interested in listening to you. It can transform your day, and in some cases it can transform your life. What barriers do I need to knock down in order to approach others that way? You never know who they might be, or what impact you might have.