A few days ago I felt blah and unmotivated. I was frustrated by all the imperfections I saw in my life.
The following day a friend of mine at church came up to me and started sharing about her week. We were experiencing the same feelings but instead of wallowing together in our misery she started sharing with me some scriptures she had been meditating on. We started brainstorming together about how we could get out of our funk and fight against the temptation to complain.
I had lost my focus and God sent this friend to me to help me take my eyes off of myself and place them back where they belonged, namely on Christ.
In our passage the author of Hebrews want us to get practical. We are to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”
First we need to figure out what he means by love and good works.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love is affectionate devotion. We are to have it for God first, and then others. Thankfully God doesn’t just issue a cold command. He shows us the way.
The best way to learn this kind of love is to look to Jesus. His love for us is selfless, it does not expect anything in return, it is kind and gentle, sacrificial and unconditional. This is how christians should love each other. We must cultivate real affection for each other and devotion for one another’s good. This is especially true for those who are in your church, community group,Bible studies, family and neighborhood. Love seeks, serves, and sacrifices in joy for what it reflects (the glory of God) and what it does (blesses another).
Love is patient and kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude (1 Cor. 13). This love comes out in the way we talk to our friends, comment online and act towards those who hurt or frustrate us. If a friend shares an area of sin, then we must love them like Christ loves them and we must come alongside them and say, “what you are doing is sin, but I love you and am here to pray for you and help you in any way I can.” Love corrects. It saves the weak, it does not ignore or exploit them.
Good works are actions and words that flow from faith and a heart that loves. The Apostle Paul talks about good works quite a bit and actually uses this phrase 6 times in the book of Titus alone.
Good works is how we obey God, imitate Jesus, honor fellow believers, care for our neighbors, and how we shine light into a godless society.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The christian life is one shared with others and a large part of it is finding ways to inspire each other to follow Christ, practically, in love and good works.
Here are some practical ways we can stir each other up to love and good deed.
1. By getting to know fellow Christians
You are an important part of the body of Christ. You have been given talents and gifts that are to be used for the benefit of others. Getting to know people takes time but it will make your life so much more rich and it will enrich the life of others.
2. By sharing what you are learning
I am always so encouraged when I hear my fiends share what they are studying, learning and reading. It is sometimes the kick in the pants I need to get back to God’s word and other times it excites me to share with them the things that I am learning.
3. By Praying
Never underestimate the power of prayer. God uses it to work wondrous things in the lives of his people. It is easy to say “I will pray for you” and then forget all about it. It might be better to pray for someone first and then tell them that you did. It is encouraging to know that someone has thought of you and prayed for you.
4. By example
Our lives should be such as men may safely copy. – C. H. Spurgeon
It means taking the high road, forgiving others when they sin against you (and they will), practicing hospitality and speaking kindly of others. It is handling disappointment in a godly way, visiting someone in the hospital, taking a meal to someone, or babysitting for a worn out mom who desperately needs a date with her husband.
My friends, life is not to be lived alone. We will end up discouraged, worn out, weak and maybe even headed down a wrong path (sometimes without even realizing it). We need each other. We need to learn together and laugh together, we need encouragement and sometimes correction. We need to be loved by others and we need to be reminded of the ultimate love we have in Jesus.
Looking to Jesus,