Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
We are citizens of this far land… and we must help one another along the way. Being wrapped in flesh tents, it is too easy to stay locked in the concerns of the flesh. Exhortation has a purpose!
Hebrews 10:22-25 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Much of the point of my writing is found in Hebrews 10:24 (which I offer here in context). “provoke unto love and to good works”. One Christian, holding themselves to a lifestyle of love and goodness, that Christian is a solitary rose in a briar hedge. Achingly beautiful, more so for the contrast… but from a distance, hard to see. A dozen Christians, each blooming where they are planted? Better. A dozen groups of Christians? Better yet.
We all want to return to a time when the hedges were covered with roses. Flowers and fruit in abundance, with thorns only occasionally. (Was there ever such a time?) Even if the time before was not as perfect as we imagine it, this time is very dark. No one argues *that*. It takes so little light to show up in the darkest night. Even our smallest offering can bless those around us. In a time when the spiritual landscape looks like one of those post-apocalyptic video games, every one of us makes a difference. Every move towards love, towards beauty. I exhort you, my siblings, bloom! Even if your blooms are less than perfect, they’re better than briars.
Remember – this flesh, this earth, this is as close to Hell as you’ll ever come. Embrace your future, your eternity, and act like a citizen of that far country, obeying your true Master with your heart, not just your hands.