Hebrews 10:24 NIV: And let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds.
My original plan for this post was to discuss Hebrews 10:25 NIV, “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. But in speaking with my husband, Kevin, and my twenty year old daughter, Denah, we looked at Hebrews 10:24 and started discussing what it means to “spur one another toward love and good deeds”. Denah said that she sees good deeds being behaviors or actions displayed by believers that encourage those who don’t go to church or who don’t believe to want to know more about the faith. And she is absolutely right! When I meditated on this verse, I see that Paul is telling believers to truly give thought to how we are perceived by others because what they see in us can either spur them on “toward love and good deeds” or drive them away from Christianity and the church. 1 Timothy 4:16 NLT states, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you”. This verse reminds us to keep in mind that there are always people watching and judging, not only you, but Christianity as a whole. And as ambassadors for Christ, every thing we say and do should be righteous in order to win people back to God (2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT). No matter how much good you’ve been caught doing, the bad is what is most remembered.
The best thing a nonbeliever can witness is a believer acting out his or her faith, not just being a mouthpiece for the Gospel (which is a good thing!), but we have to always back up our words with our actions. To be completely honest, someone who does not believe is going to be spurred more towards love (which is God) by what you do and the integrity and joy in which you do it than by any speech you give. You are a new creation, remember to show it! Not only are nonbelievers watching, so are other Christians. There are still some skeptical Christians, who are less mature in the faith, and they are watching you even more closely because they need holy models to keep them encouraged and keep them digging deeper into their relationship with Christ.
I have mentioned in a previous post that I am an advocate for domestic violence survivors and work in a domestic violence shelter. The organization that I work for is a non-religious based nonprofit, so I cannot freely proclaim the Gospel to my clients. But as a Christian, it is my job to let my “light shine before others, that they may see [my] good deeds and glorify [my] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). So my good deeds are: always being kind, being nonjudgmental, being someone that they can trust, a shoulder to cry on, going above and beyond to be helpful, and always give them 100%. It is truly amazing, because without me ever saying a word about my beliefs, many of my clients come to me and assume that I am a Christian. And they slowly start asking me Biblical and Christ-related questions. I consider it an honor, and although I cannot cross professional boundaries by saying everything I want to say, I can tell them where they can find better explanations to the questions than I am able to provide. The point is that my clients are watching me, and by my actions I am able to spur them towards love and good deeds. I don’t want to misrepresent my clients, so I will tell you that there are some of my clients who are already Christians. But I get these kinds of interactions with clients who are Christians and clients who don’t know what they believe.
I love the illustration in Titus 2:3-5 NIV
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Did you read what I just read? Only after the older women displayed godly behaviors are they THEN able to urge, or spur, the younger women to have the same godly behaviors. I’m going to leave you with this reminder…Remember, someone is always watching.