“One-A-Week Challenge” – Week 48

tumblr_ktvu1hzzrw1qzlgb3o1_500“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”

Hebrews 10:24 nlt

For the third week in a row our verse of scripture has at it’s heart the word love. Not only are we to love God and others, but now we discover the admonition to encourage others.

In a challenge-filled world it is easy for us to lose sight of doing the basics. Each person, of course, defines and determines these basics. Often it is in the midst of seemingly good times that we become slack and complacent in doing the things we know we need to do. I have a friend who is better at the basics than anybody I know because he has suffered the consequences too often of letting the basics slip. Ever since his last major stumble he has become a creature of habit. This guy eats the same breakfast and lunch every day. He is regimented about going to the gym the same days each week. He follows the same routine every afternoon. His days are rigidly scheduled and his life is structured like no one else I know.

I have another friend who is similarly structured but only when the things in his life are in a state of chaos. Every time we talk I am able to tell, nearly immediately, if he is in a delightful or difficult place in his life. The more trouble this guy is in the more diligent he is at getting back to the basics. He is circumstantially controlled and knows the right thing to do, but does not often do it. James wrote, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
My friend’s real problem is that he seems to think that the activity of serving God is some sort of placebo for God’s blessings.

A part of the human mind is to realize that we are all creatures of habit – some good, some bad, and some neutral. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to “think of ways to motivate [or stir up] one another …” to love and to good works. While it is easy for us to provoke people in the wrong ways, here the author is telling us to find ways that emphasize the Divine attributes of love and good in them. Here are a few things I think might help you in this:

Maximize victories and minimize failures. Too often we are quick to point out the failures in others rather than encourage them in the small victories in their lives. There certainly is a time and place for correction in our friends lives but we must gain the opportunity to speak these more deliberate words to them through a developed relationship with them.

Be gracious in your choice of words. The old adage, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” is certainly true. People tend to listen more quickly through gentle and gracious words than they do through hostile confrontation. Think of your own experiences and share these with others.

Always be vulnerable with other people. Let your life be an open book for others to see. As we encourage others it is important for them to see that we have been through many of the same things they are facing. As God has dealt with you so deal with others.

This week, I hope you will be constantly thinking of ways to motivate others to a good and godly life.