Wednesday, February 27, 2013


and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…Hebrews 10:24 

This verse exhorts us to put our mind to the task of assisting others in their Christian life.  It begins “let us consider one another…”  which means “to observe attentively, or understand, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.” In short, we are to focus on encouraging one another. It is not to be accidental but intentional. I like how The Message says: “Let’s see how inventive we can be…” Let us think of creative ways of encouraging others.”

The emphasis is upon getting to know one another in our community of faith. The results are a creative interchange that leads to provocative stimulation of both love and good works. When a person is known for all he or she is, with all the wrinkles and foibles, and yet is loved, trust is engendered and creative risking becomes a possibility. We can say, “So what if I fail at a good attempt? I will be loved. I am confident of that. He or she knows me and still loves me; I can attempt my idea.” This then makes possible one of the goals of the Christian life—good works.  Such good works do not always come naturally or automatically.  Our exhorter encourages his readers to both love and good works.

Verse 24 continues, “let us consider how we may spur one another on…” To spur means “to stir up, provoke, stimulate or incite someone to do something.” In other words, to create a thirst. A thirst for what? “toward love and good deeds.” That’s how we measure encouragement. It is not a fuzzy feeling. If someone became a more loving person or a better person, then we really encouraged him or her.
Church can be a great place to get caught up on the latest football games, golf scores, family news, health concerns, or just to visit with friends. A cup of coffee together, a warm handshake, a friendly pat on the back are all part of the social interaction we need as human beings.  All of this is good, but New Testament fellowship goes much deeper than merely socializing when we get together at church. It takes place when we consider how we can lift up, build up, and brighten up our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christian fellowship takes place when we offer encouragement to our friends, pray for them, and confess our sins and weaknesses to one another. These are the elements that make fellowship genuine.  What about our church? Are we merely socializing? Or are we practicing true Christian fellowship? Christian fellowship builds us up and binds us together.

Now we've all heard SOMEONE COMPLAIN that the people in a certain church aren't friendly, or that they seem to be lacking in love. Although such criticisms may be true, the one doing the complaining is often a part of the problem.  A lesson I learned as a boy illustrates what I mean:
My grandparents used to draw their water from an old well with a pump. Many remember their first attempt to get water from that pump. They repeatedly jerked that cast iron handle down and up, down and up, but couldn't get any water. Then Granddad handed them a bucket of water. "Pour it down the pump," he urged. Then as they worked the handle, water came in abundance. There was plenty of water in that well, but first they had to "prime the pump."  To feel the love and. friendliness of an assembly of believers, we may need to pour a little of our own love in first. It was God's love toward us that prompted our love in return. This principle also works in our relationship with other Christians. Try it!  Your expression of love and concern and friendliness will most certainly stimulate a reciprocal love from hearts in dwelt by God's Spirit. When you meet together with the people of God, ask Him to help you "prime the pump."

Scripture to Claim:
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:13  

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