“Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for
the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods…Therefore Jesus
also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered
outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His
reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the
city which is to come…” Hebrews 13:9, 12-14
It takes much strength to do our Lord’s will. It takes strength to live
righteously and to work in and for the Kingdom of God. It takes strength
to love others as Jesus loves us. It takes strength to say “NO” to sin and
temptations. So, where do we get that kind of strength? The above verses
teach us that physical food does not strengthen us inwardly, but that
God’s grace strengthens us spiritually.
I sometimes read testimonies of how many Christians are unjustly
tortured, persecuted and even martyred for their faith all over the world.
Where do they get the inner strength to withstand the evil that so many
face? The answer lies in GRACE – Christ’s abundant, overflowing grace
which He offers freely. Sometimes the meal of grace needs to replace the
meal of food.
Jesus suffered “outside the camp/gate.” Leftover flesh from sacrificed
animals were burned outside the borders of Israel camp, under the old
covenant. (Exodus 29:14) A main theme in Hebrews is that we need to
hold fast to our faith, despite persecution or rejection. We need to be
willing to also “bear reproach” accusations/criticism like Christ did. Our
focus needs to be on heaven and not on earthly troubles. We need to do
this with thanksgiving. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a
sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His
name.” Heb. 13:15
The only strength that really matters in life is the strength of heart that
comes from nurturing and trusting ourselves on God’s grace. The Lord
does not delight in health and physical strength, but He takes pleasure in
those who hope in His unfailing love and grace. (Psalm 147:11). “May our
Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his
grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your
hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thess.
Thank You precious Jesus, that You say to me, as You did to Paul in 2 Cor.
12:9, that Your grace is sufficient for me, that your “power is made
perfect in weakness.” Thank You that your loving grace forgives and
cleanses us when we come to You in repentance, that Your grace is
abundant, filled with love, mercy, and strength. Amen