And let us consider how we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.
“What’s God been teaching you this week?”
Every Thursday afternoon, Donna would come over to my house while the little ones were napping. She would sit down on the couch, look me right in the eye and ask me that question. Every week. And she expected an answer.
Donna was a mentor and friend who taught me how to mature as a follower of Jesus. We studied the Bible together, we prayed together, we served in the local church together. And we had a ton of fun. She spurred me on toward love and good deeds.
According to this verse, we are supposed to give some serious thought as to how we can light a fire under each other. The word “spur” is a strong word that can mean:
- to stimulate
- to sharpen
- to stir up
- to jab in order to get a response
The original Greek word is “paroxusmos” and it can mean two different things, depending on the context. On the positive side, it means to rouse someone to action by encouragement. On the negative side, it means to be irritating.
I admit that from time to time, I need a little jab. When I get lazy or complacent or bored, a loving kick in the pants can get me back in gear. However, constant poking can create a sore spot. Maybe that’s why we are to carefully consider how to best go about this.
There are two things this verse doesn’t say that are worth noting. First, this is a directive to every believer — we all can and should encourage each other to press on, to run with endurance, to keep the faith. It doesn’t say, “Meet together so the pastor can stir you up to love and good deeds.”
Second, it doesn’t say “consider how to love each other and do good deeds.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but this is different: “Consider how to stimulate each other to love and good deeds.” How can we nudge each other toward growth and loving service? How can we stir up one another to stay faithful and enthusiastic? It can be as easy as asking, “What’s God been teaching you this week?”
In other words, let’s be positively irritating.
Lord, when I start to become dull and cold, send someone to sharpen me and fire me up. Thank You for people who inspire me and make me want to be a better person, a stronger believer and a more intentional servant. Help me to be on the watch for brothers and sisters in Christ who need a friendly nudge. Show me how to do that without being annoying. Help us, Your children, to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
*Part thirteen in a series on “The One Anothers”.