Stir Up One Another To Love and Good Deeds (revised)
The Power of Christ's Love
Hebrews 10:24 (NKJV)
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
Recently there was a popular phrase put to use by the younger generation. They would say… “Make it happen.” The idea is to conduct your actions in such a way that you influence, or direct the outcome toward a desired result. With the case of our instruction verse, the desired affect is love and good deeds in our own lives and the lives of others. On the surface it seems the writer is not making a bad request. Normally I wouldn’t take objection with the suggestion, or think that others would have reason too. However, it seems the world doesn’t share my point of view.
Turn on the news or pick up a paper and I’m sure you’ll find a report of violence, crime, and war somewhere in the world. Most often you don’t have to look that far. The surprising thing about these reports lies in the fact that they often are the response of so called Christian leaders, in Christian countries to things they stand in opposition of. No matter what the reasoning or justification, it still comes down to this… we fight, we make an effort to control others, and for centuries, we have gone to war. Now tell me, where is the action that stirs up love, and what real and lasting good has ever been the result of deeds like this? Yes… we make it happen, but what do we make happen? This process tends to go in direct opposition of the scripture request.
John 16:33 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Simply Because (already got joy, already got peace)
The Power From Within
Tribulation, or trouble, is nothing new. It has existed since the fall from grace, and for the most part has gotten worse as time goes by. As Jesus spoke to His disciples He gave them the assurances of peace. “His peace”, which is found only in Him... cannot come from the world. The thing to understand here is this key part of the phrase... “in me you may have peace.” It calls for abiding in Him, our remembering His promise to us, and our holding faith in that promise.
When "He" is within us... so also, is the power.
If we lose sight of this attempting to go another route,... we compound the problem.
Romans 2:8-10 (NIV)
But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
The bottom line is simple… when you use violence as a means to solve violence, you become part of the violence; compounding the situation. One would think that we would have learned this lesson by now; from history, if not scripture. When I allow myself to strike a man because I’m upset or angry; I give him license to also strike. In the event I’ve rendered him unable to strike; I give license to his family, friends, and love ones to enter the situation on his behalf. Consider the above in connection with this passage of scripture.
Romans 12:17-21 (NIV) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The writer of Hebrews starts chapter 10, with a look at the law, and the old method of sacrifice used by the priests. The quote in verse 5-7, is a reference to a passage in Psalms 40, describing the perfect and acceptable sacrifice of Jesus, and His willingness to please God unto death. In essence, the old way wasn’t good enough to cover sin, or to please God for any length of time. The death and resurrection of Christ gave us a new covenant, one that is perfect and permanent; but we do have to follow it. Reverting back to the old method of doing things amounts to a rejection of Christ’s work on the cross. Under the new covenant, brought in by Jesus, we have been instructed to “Love God, and to Love One Another.” This, with as much effort as we can manage that mirrors Christ. It is with faith in “His Ability”, and the hope that “He” will see us through; not in the methodology of the world or some vain strategy that embraces the very evil that Christ stands against. Ours is a commandment To love… not hate.
Romans 8:35 (NIV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
If Christ could not be removed from “His Love” of us, even in the face of suffering the death of the cross… why then do we routinely allow someone or something to separate us from that same love, or discount the power contained therein? The very foundation of our faith is rooted in the Love of Christ.
1 John 3:1-3 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
It is to this end that we stir each other… we stir each other to love - for therein lies the power that Christ has given us. A power already within those that believe. Stirring it in ourselves and others, is the method we employ to display our “Faith in God.” It provides the strength wherein we muster “Our Hope to Continue in Christ”, and the very thing we share with our brothers and sisters in fellowship. It's a little thing called "Love." After all, what encouragement or good deed can we offer if it is not “Offered from the Heart… in Love?”