SPUR ONE ANOTHER ON
I've been walking through the book of Hebrews this month and thought I might share a couple of insights with you. Hebrews 10:24 has long been a favorite verse: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Perhaps you've seen this passage printed artistically on a western photo; it does seem "popular" in the cowboy culture. But let's break it down and ponder it a little deeper. After all, "consider" literally means "to mull over, reflect on, think about". So let's do it!
First, how about that spur? I suppose some folks see a spur on a cowboy's boot and they picture that cowboy digging those spurs into the side of a horse. Now, for a true horseman, that would be a pretty rare occasion. You see, a spur is simply a tool, and, used properly, it is not going to hurt the horse, but simply encourage him to give the results that the rider is seeking. If the horse is stubborn and unwilling to respond, more pressure may be necessary, causing some discomfort so the horse will learn to yield and respond. We'll come back to that thought in a moment.
Let's talk about the "one another" part of this verse. Sometimes I think when I read this, I have a tendency of "jumping over" the people in my closest sphere of influence. And who would that be? It is the people in my home -- my husband, my children. Do I encourage them? Do I spur them on toward love and good deeds, looking for results of deeper devotion to God and more Christ-likeness? It would be a crying shame if I were to neglect those closest to me -- the ones that God has placed in my life to influence and impact the greatest.
So just how do we encourage each other toward love and good deeds? What is love? The Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that "God is love." To know God is to know love. The closer we walk with Jesus, the more naturally love will flow from us. Good deeds will be an outpouring of our faith, as James 2:18 says, "...I will show you my faith by what I do." And again in verse 26, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." Good deeds do not get us to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9); rather, we do good deeds because we're going to heaven. To encourage others toward love and good deeds could be simply helping them to keep the Lord first in all they do, to walk in the Spirit, to love and obey God in all they do. But I think it can also be more specific, promoting action and reaching out to show forth Christ.
Now, going back to that stubborn horse that might need to feel the spur a little more, I have to ask myself, "How do I respond when someone else is spurring me on toward love and good deeds?" Am I sensitive and do I yield to those nudges? If not, I may need some more pressure, and that could be uncomfortable. I want to be soft and supple, just like I want my horse to be with me.
Putting it all together, this verse is so much more than a neat quote on a pretty western picture. It challenges me in many ways. How about you? Who are you spurring on toward love and good deeds? Don't forget the ones closest to you before you reach out farther. Consider how you can encourage those in your home to know Christ more fully and share their faith in practical, tangible ways that will in turn point others to faith in Jesus!