Study on Hebrew 13:1
Let brotherly Love continue
“Let brotherly Love continue.”
What does it mean to “LET” love continue? Let’s break it down dictionary style.
1: To cause to: Make.
In other words: As my brother, best friend David, and I jet skied at 45 mph on the Cumberland River several years back, David turning the handle as far to the right as he could to “avoid a beer bottle” LET me temporarily experience the miracle of flight before having two larger bodies crash into me.
This definition of the word “let” would suggest an action is needed before brotherly love can continue. Therefore, we are called to make the end goal of whatever we do be to “let love continue.” Whatever we do, as Christians, should be in an effort to love everyone around us.
Consider this statement, “Jesus let love continue.” His mentality of, “I’m helping you, serving you, healing you, feeding you…I’m Loving you not because you love me or even because you like me, but because I love you,” is an unconditional mentality that lets love continue. It’s love that “lets” all who come in contact with him feel love.
That makes this simple, four word verse, a call to love everyone around us as Jesus did. By humbling ourselves to the point of serving others in whatever way that is needed not because they have earned it, not because they deserve it, not because we think they’ll return the favor, and not even because they like us, we are continuing an unconditional love for others. Jesus sums it up best, as He usually does, in John chapter 13 verses 34-35 saying, “34A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
This brings us to the second english meaning of “Let.”
2: To give opportunity to or fail to prevent.
In other words: Being selected to represent my graduating class at my school’s graduation ceremony LET me spend some time admitting to various pranks and mischief performed by, yet again, my best friend David and I, which included, but was not limited to such things as breaking into the AV room in the building and playing “Schools out for summer” by Alice Cooper over the main speakers, and switching the music our parents picked for graduation from “Your gonna miss this” by Trace Adkins to “Wanted dead or alive” by Bon Jovi.
The definition of “let” in this verse, you could say, is now saying there are opportunities to continue to Love. In fact, there are an infinite amount of opportunities for us to Love those who we come in contact with. The challenge for us as Christians is to search out and find these opportunities to live as Jesus did and to Love our neighbor, our friends, our family. It is our call to seek out these opportunities in day to day life.
One of the things I have found as a challenge, yet still is so rewarding to do, is to try and incorporate God and our call to serve into your job. Recognizing the glorious opportunity your place of work is to serve God by Loving others. This past summer I sold pest control door to door. I couldn’t possibly tell you all every way God blessed me that summer or all the ways that he provided for me, but I do want to share one decision that summer that changed my life. My roommates and I decided that, if the spirit put someone we were talking to on our hearts, we would ask them if they had any prayer requests. I would ask someone whether they bought pest control or not if they had anything that I could keep in my prayers for them and you wouldn’t believe how much brighter they looked after that question. You see, it didn’t matter if they didn’t want to share with some random guy what they were struggling with or if they just started to spill all over the front porch, what mattered was the thought. You here the cliché, “it’s the thought that counts,” and it’s true. Because whether I left a house with a new prayer request or not, I left the person I just talked to with the feeling that someone took a few minutes out of his day to care for them. Take every opportunity you can find and “let love continue.”
The third definition is one that I think of when I read this verse.
3: To free from or as if from confinement.
In other words, the moment my friend decided to let the water balloon fly from my water balloon launcher was the moment that an unsuspecting mother carrying a small child became a very incidental target, which soon followed thereafter with him being arrested. But that is another story completely.
You see, God’s Love is vaster than the ocean. Once you fall in Love with God, it’s like you have an ocean of Love flowing through you yet you can’t contain it. The waters of His love flood your heart and, as it fills your veins, you have no choice but to let that Love burst from your hands and mouth. Sharing that love with others by all that you say and do.
This was the case for me about 5 years ago when my family went to a Campus Crusade for Christ Staff training in Colorado. All the youth went to various spots around Colorado springs sharing the gospel and God’s love to others. I chose to sit it out and play street hockey. That evening all the youth gathered together and they shared all the amazing and crazy stories of their day and I knew immediately that I had missed out on something not only life changing, but Godly. The Love they had gushing from their mouths about what they had done flooded my heart with the most amazing feeling of God’s Love that I had ever experienced. I had to go and “let” out the flood that was building up inside me. I sat at Colorado State Universities multi-purpose gym/everything else you could imagine in between the two sets of entrance doors stopping every person I could just to tell them, “Excuse me, Jesus Loves you!” It was crazy! But I didn’t care, because I had to “let” God’s love pour out to everyone I could. I can’t tell you the amount of different responses I got from people, but I do remember this one lady I stopped. After saying my cute little, “Jesus Loves you” line, she leaned toward me and, as she started to tear up, said, “Thank you so much for telling me that. I really needed to hear that today.” Wow. I was able to touch her, and I don’t know how many others, life because I dared to “let love continue.”
The fourth definition of let is just as important as the previous one and actually has to happen before you can “let” love pour from your heart.
4: To permit to enter, pass, or leave.
In other words, after my brother, cousins, and I got off “Titan” at Six Flags over Texas, the park police found that we had taken our shirts completely off for the on ride photo and, though it was not allowed because they are a “Family park,” they decided to “let” us go on our way, which was to the front gate where we proceeded to bride the cashier with 25 dollars and “we’re just some bruthas” comments to sell us the photo.
As you look at this meaning of “let” in the verse, you have no choice but to look to yourself. It is vital to “let” God’s love flood your heart. Too much in today’s world we, as Christians, put up walls in our lives that keeps or prevents God’s love from infecting our lives. We all saw the power that a flood can have and how much it can change whatever it comes in contact with here in Nashville. Think of how much greater the flood of God’s love can change your heart and life, in the most amazing way you can imagine, if you just take down your walls and barriers.
It’s so easy, when something goes wrong in our lives, to fall into greater temptations and struggles when all we really need is to “let” God’s overwhelming and comforting love flood our hearts. I speak from experience, and as someone who has dealt with trials by cutting, throwing up, and looking at pornography just to name a few. I’ll be the first to tell you that it is so easy to do. Satan feeds us these lies that make us think that what we are doing is dealing with our pain or problems, but we need to remember to always “let” God’s love continue. We need to remember that all these struggles such as cutting, throwing up, and pornography put up walls that prevent God’s love from filling us and reviving us. And I promise you that, the moment you call out to God and “let” His love flood your heart, is the moment your walls come crashing down. God yearns to fill your heart and veins with His overwhelming, healing, and comforting Love. His heart breaks to see you put walls up in your life that prevent Him from revealing His Love to you yet He never gives up on us. So, today, right now, I challenge you to “let Love continue to flood your heart.”
And then there was one….
5: to make an adjustment to.
In other words, David and the rest of his class decided to LET out the silly string from 11 different bottles while they were aimed at me, saran wrap the silly string to me from my ankles to my shoulders, and then top it all off by throwing me in a nearby dumpster.
By only reading into this meaning of the word “let,” I’d like to point out that it is important to adjust your mindset from the love that is in all the Hollywood movies to a love that requires sacrifice and pain to give someone else comfort and beauty. Jesus dying on the cross to wash away all of our sins is a symbol of excruciating pain and torture as well as a symbol of perfect love. In contrast, Jesus uses the symbol of the cross to describe how we should love. He died for those who denied Him, cursed Him, whipped Him, and hung Him on a cross to slowly suffocate. We aren’t called to just love when it’s easy or when we know we’ll receive something in return, but we are called even more so to love when it’s hard, when we know we aren’t going to receive something in return. We’re not called to a pretty love; we’re called to a beautiful love, an unconditional love, and a love more precious than gold or rubies.
With whichever definition you use to interpret this verse, I think we can all agree that it is a verse that is calling us to action. So my challenge to you, and my prayer for you, is that you can love everyone around you, that you will also seek out opportunities to love those not immediately around you, that you can let God’s love flow from your lips as well as from your hands, that you can look in at your own selves, tear down any walls you might have, and let God’s love flood your heart, and finally realize that love isn’t pretty; it’s beautiful.
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