And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” Hebrews 10:24
We’ve all heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words”. And that is definitely true when communicating the Good News of Jesus to those who do not know Him. They need to see how God changes people who are broken, wounded, angry, arrogant, unkind, overlooked, and in any other type of despairing situation. He not only turns their life or circumstances around, but transforms them into new creations.
They need to experience God’s love wash over them as they encounter real disciples of Christ — lovers of God, who also love them in whatever state they are in, by our good deeds. It is the kind of communication that requires action, not just words, to be convincing.
I met Jesus at age six, during a period of revival that swept across the country in the 1970’s. God gave me faith to believe, even at that young age. So, I knelt beside our sofa and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I made Him Lord of my life. Shortly after that, I also received a gift of the Holy Spirit in the form of a prayer language; which is a sign to believers and a promise of His return! In fact, my entire family dedicated our lives to the Lord within the same month! We were quickly welcomed into a community of believers that lived their faith wholeheartedly. Their love for the Lord, one another, and toward others had a profound influence in our community.
In my 4+ decades of following Christ I have seen that kind of messy all-consuming sacrificial love for God wane. It is, in many places, replaced by organizational systems, slick presentations, entertainment style worship services, ministry celebrities, church politics, “bless me” junkies and laity too busy to notice or too comfortable to care.
I am not casting stones, I have too many faults of my own. But I am drawing attention to widespread malaise in the body of Christ that we must address head on if we are to be lights in our world, as Jesus declared in Matthew 5: 14, drawing people to Him.
Actions: His Hands and Feet
When the world rails against Christ it is, in many cases, because they have not see or experienced a tangible expression of His love in their lives (our good deeds). We, the people of God, must be His hands and feet, to our co-workers, friends, family and neighbors; even to the stranger God puts in our path. If we are not, we are falling short in our faith.
Of course we are not yet perfect, so we will make mistakes. But even our repentance, our turning from wrong in contrition and embracing God’s way, can be a testimony of His grace to a watching world.
We are all in the process of sanctification, if we allow the Holy Spirit to continue working in us. And we must, if we want to impact this generation with the love and transforming power of God.
We must all to “walk in the light,” fully and completely. We must be cleansed by the blood of Jesus and have fellowship with God and one another. And since we have believed on the name of Jesus for our salvation, and have tasted His goodness, we can embrace the purifying work of the Holy Spirit confident of a good outcome. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, with a warning,
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25)
I firmly believe God is faithful to what He has promised. As we allow God to cleanse us, we must remember the hope that is within us. I know firsthand how excruciating the purifying work of the Holy Spirit can be. At one point I wanted to cut myself in two to get rid of the darkness He revealed in my soul. Heart rending repentance and the power of the Holy Spirit did its work and freed me from that darkness. There is still a work to be done in me; and in you too – so let us begin, confident in our Savior.
Live Our Faith, Love
Then we can “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds”. When we live our faith, not sampling talking about it, which will allow God to influence our generation for Christ through us!
Here is a sample prayer to help you in your journey:
“Lord, thank you for the Holy Spirit working in me to get me to this point. I see how much I have grown in my walk with You! From my perspective I’m doing okay. But Lord I know that you see things in me that I don’t see. Father I ask you to do whatever it takes to make me more like Jesus. I want to live my faith to the fullest and share Your love with others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Dr. Jodie Chiricosta is vice president of Somebody Cares America/International. She teaches and consults on a variety of Christian living and leadership topics and is the host of the podcast Her God Story.