‘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.”
DAGGUM!!!! I don’t know about you but I’m still feeling the heat cominng off of the friendly fire brought from Chrishton where he gave a voice to a brother in need and shared his interaction with the Spirit of God!!!
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at this verse lately and just haven’t been able to put words to it but thankful for personal experiences and the experiences of others such as my buddy Chrishton, it is time. Today, we’re going to dig into relationships. In the world we live in it is super easy to overlook the importance of the relationships we have in our life. Whether it’s relationships with a spouse, a friend, or just a co-worker, whatever the relationship, everyone has a variety of different relationships in your life. The question we find ourselves in today is, “what’s our role in the many relationships that we have in our lives?”
There’s times I notice that I can be extremely self-centered in relationships. I have a problem of getting my mind so wrapped up around me, my problems, my to-do lists, and my desires that I completely lose focus of the role God has given me in relationships with people in ever area of my life. The problem that comes when we are focused solely on self is that we can overlook the people that we have standing right in front of us. Yeah, we can have conversations with them, listen to them but are we even really tuned in or are we already thinking about our own wants and needs or what we want to say more. Honestly, sometimes for me, I overlook relationships because of busyness in my life. I’m so focused on what needs to be done or what’s ahead on my to-do list that I am completely zoned out and overlooking the people God has placed in front of me. I wanted to share those examples with you because sometimes it’s good to look at what not to do to better see what God has called us to do.
I love the way these truths are written here; “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” There is such a push there to be INTENTIONAL in relationships with others. We see that God has called us to not only put our self aside but to be others-focused. I saw the words, “And let us consider how to stir up,” and it hit me that God is telling us here to actually think about ways to encourage and stir up others. That blew my mind and convicted me greatly because how often is my thoughts and focus centered around me, myself and I? A LOT!!! Instead, God tells us to literally spend some time and be thoughtful about how we can stir up others around us towards love and good works. To be intentional in this way, it takes thought, it takes listening to others, hearing more about them, hearing what makes them upset and what gets them giddy with excitement. When we better know the person we have a relationship with, the easier it will be to go into that next step of being intentional about ways to get their fire burning. It starts with listening, getting to know them and then we can spend intentional time thinking of ways that will stir them up. Through this process of seeking ways to be intentional that’s where going to God in prayer and surrendering yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit within you, you see that there you have guidance and wisdom to take the next step in stirring.
It’s honestly like a recipe for a good relationship. Before you get to “stirring” all the ingredients together, you have to first know what ingredients you’re dealing with. Like any good recipe, you can’t just overlook that time of prayer and preparation or when it comes to stirring them up, and cooking it, you’ll be clueless and trying to make a beautiful masterpiece without the ingredients needed, and also the utensils you need to stir which is the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. God calls us to stir one another up towards good works and love but if we don’t do the prep work, how can we ever begin stirring?
What are some good ingredients to use for cooking up a good relationship with someone? Well, what are their interests? What do they like/dislike? What kind of personality do they have? All these things can be used as ingredients to find common ground between you and the other person. Sometimes I know we can get jacked up about pushing others towards love and good works but if you just push them into it, are you really stirring? It takes being intentional about finding common ground with somebody, where you can go from that common ground and then lift them up to living a life in God’s ways, towards good works and love. It’s really hard to just jump to higher ground and expect them to get there. Find where they’re at then gently and wisely nudge and stir them towards God’s higher ground of living. Now that’s some cooking!!!
To finish off the recipe, now that we’ve got the ground work laid, it’s time to stir up the ingredients and bake the cake. We’ve spent time listening and getting to know the person, we have found common ground to start at and spent time thinking and praying about ways to be intentional, so now what? Well, there’s one thing about being intentional that can be missed if we just skim over the recipe quickly. Having good intentions with someone is great and all but if we “neglect to meet together,” what good is it to have a bowl full of ingredients that have great potential to be something delicious but in reality it’s just a bowl of uncooked food. To be intentional takes action, taking time to be with that person or that group of people because how can you stir someone you’re not even with? Luckily, we’ve been given a little trick called cell phones so if our days are too busy then we can use our phones to our advantage to reach out and spend time stirring up people. But what’s best is just face to face cooking! That’s where the best relationships are built and that’s where the stirring can take place along with the beginning stages of cooking up an awesome relationship with someone that may not just move them to love and good works but who knows how many people they will impact, or how many those people will impact?? Think about all of the tasty relationships that are being cooked up out there just from reaching out and taking the time to stir one person. Maybe it’s something you do with words in conversation, maybe it’s just the example of living a life for God, modeling what love and good works look like. However God presents the opportunity, grab it and give all you have to others because you have no idea how God will use you to stir that person and how He will cook up good things in their heart and lives.
At the end of the day, stirring someone else is just loving them. That’s it. All that other gold was just extra but loving others around you covers all those more detailed pieces of the recipe. Relationships can be easy to overlook but open up your eyes, be present with the people around you. Put self aside and focus on being others-centered, constantly think of ways to encourage, or lift some one up by being intentional with speech and with action. People will be stirred up when they see God’s love working through us, that’s just what God does. Just don’t miss out on all the joy and awesomeness that comes with taking the time to be intentional and love somebody. You have no idea how great that feeling is until you live in it, and then who knows all the people’s lives that will be affected because you got intentional about cooking up a good relationship with one person!!! Spend some time in the kitchen today and embrace the relationships God has placed around you!!!!