Together in Christ: 'The Shepherd's Concern' — Hebrews 12:15

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
— Hebrews 12:15 NLT

Key Thought

The Holy Spirit characterized the epistle to the Hebrews as a brief word of encouragement/correction/comfort. [1] The inspired writer repeatedly warns believers not to turn their back on Jesus and turn away from their faith. [2] In addition, the Spirit urges believers to be on the lookout for two kinds of problems:

  1. Look after those whose faith in Jesus is wavering because salvation comes through God's grace and our faith in Jesus for all He did to purchase our salvation. [3]
     
  2. Watch out for any poisonous root of bitterness that could spread and corrupt many among these new believers struggling with all sorts of problems and persecutions. [4]
     

In other words, we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers! [5] We are to help each other continue on the path toward Jesus and his character, compassion, and faithfulness. So, dear friend in Christ, are we looking after each other and our faith? Are we watching out for those among us who have bitterness springing up because life is hard? Let's help each other live with faith anticipating our glorious future together! [6]

[1] Hebrews 13:22 — the word used here, παρακλήσεως, is a word rich in emotion and meaning. It covers all three ideas of encouragement, loving correction, and comfort.
[2] Hebrews 3:12-13.
[3] Ephesians 2:1-10; Hebrews 3:14, 10:35-39. The Spirit is confident that the believers will return to their full faith in Jesus — Hebrews 6:9-12.
[4] Hebrews 2:18, 10:32-36, 13:1-3.
[5] Matthew 18:12-14; Galatians 6:1-3. Exactly the opposite of what Cain said when he killed Abel — Genesis 4:9.
[6] Colossians 3:1-4; Revelation 7:9-12.

Today's Prayer

Open my eyes, Lord Jesus, to see Your beloved sheep who are struggling or straying. Use me and the brothers and sisters around me to walk beside them and help them stay connected to Jesus. Give me wisdom, dear Lord, to know how best to listen, when best to gently "carefront" them when they are straying, and how best to check on them. I know You care about all of Your sheep, for You are my loving Shepherd, and You have laid Your life down for all of Your sheep. Jesus, by Your authority and because of Your love, I place this prayer in Your loving hands. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Hebrews 2:1-4, 3:12-14, 6:1-12, 10:19-31
  • Luke 15:1-7; John 10:1-18

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Illustration

Illustration of Hebrews 12:15 NLT — Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.