And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities. Hebrews 10:23, Amplified Classic
When I am around loving people my heart is ignited to love. When a friend is patient and understanding, I want to become more patient and understanding. When a stranger smiles and allows me to go ahead of them, I am inspired to defer to the needs of others above my own. When I experience silent prayer over a couple of days with one or two seeking souls, God grows my capacity to be loved and to love. What I am learning is the Lord’s heart for His children is to overtly encourage one another to do good deeds motivated by love, avoiding worthless works.
The writer of Hebrews knew the human heart and mind needs constant reminders of the truth. Most of us, as followers of Jesus for any length of time, know enough truth to live abundantly, but we forget our basic beliefs and behaviors. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Our Savior and Lord knew we needed to be reminded of His incredible love, sacrifice and salvation for us. Like a sluggish feeling following a smorgasbord, our love needs to be poked and prodded to engage in good deeds. Feelings along with follow through, grow a radical, active love.
“Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [a]in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3, AMPC).
Like hate, love can be learned. Nelson Mandela explains, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin… If they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite” Christ’s school of love includes a required course in silence. When we quietly listen and look around us, within us and above us, we slowly and surely practice the presence of God. The best students of love remember their first love, and as a result, are compelled to love others. A soul loved well, loves other souls well.
Look around you and observe a shed tear in every home, church pew, cubical and car. When you feel the pain of a fractured heart, and as you share your story of pain and healing, you become a soothing balm for your brother or sister in the faith. The wounded do not need for you to explain their state or even fix their flaws, only to enter into their hurt with the community of your care and compassion. The Holy Spirit living in you ministers deep within a bruised spirit to heal and make whole. An ignited love cauterizes bleeding hearts, so joyfully spread the fire of God’s love!
“For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another” (Galatians 5:13, AMPC).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I gladly receive your lavish love, so I can happily love others like You love me, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Application: Who needs my love, encouragement and maybe just a tender word of concern?
Related Readings: Philippians 2:1; Colossians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Philemon 1:7