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What we miss

Hebrews 10:24,25
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Here is the focus for your life. Here is what you aim at from morning till night as a Christian. Notice carefully: it is not what you might expect. It is not: consider how to love each other and do good deeds. That would be Biblical and right.

But it's different: "Consider how to stimulate each other to love and good deeds." Focus on helping others become loving people. Aim at stirring up others to do good deeds.

And of course the implication would also be that if others need help and stirring, we do too, and so we would be aiming at what sorts of ways we can think and feel and talk and act that will stir each other up to love and to do good deeds. The aim of our lives is not just loving and doing good deeds, but helping to stir up others to love and to good deeds. ~ John Piper

As 2008 winds down, I’m reminiscing more often. Particularly about lessons God has taught me through spiritual resolutions I made last January. Fresh from reading Scot McKnight’s The Jesus Creed, I broke my goals into two sections: Love God and Love others.

Goal # 1 under “Love God” was “Maintain hope.” God has hammered home its importance all year, in all kinds of seemingly-hopeless situations. He’s uncovered areas of my latent unbelief contributing to my too-often failure to hope in him. He’s topping it off this quarter by having me study the psalms of lament. If one word stands out to me each week, it is hope. Hope in God—it’s key to outlasting any trouble.

Under “Love others”, I asked myself: what could I do to really bring value and love to someone else’s life? The answer? If my greatest satisfaction comes from loving God and loving others, that should be the gift of most value to give away. So Goal # 4: “Encourage others to love God and love others.”

When I read Piper’s exposition of Hebrews 10, I immediately thought of my Goal # 4. I’m still working on how to carry it out; it’s not been an easy black-and-white goal to monitor. It’s easier to count how many fish you give away than to keep up with how you’ve successfully encouraged others to go fish themselves. I need a few more decades on this one.

But just because the goal is hard does not mean the goal is not worthy. I may rarely hit what I’m aiming for, but I can stay focused on the bull’s-eye.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

One way to "monitor" this goal is when people tell you that you've encouraged them... so let me say, you have definitely, definitely encouraged me this year... above and beyond the call of duty, actually. Thanks and I love you!


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