This past Sunday, we talked about “Refrigerator Friends” at church. The friends that can come over and go into our refrigerator without asking…take our favorite thing out and eat it (and we’re o.k. with it!)…or, take out the things that are expired/rotten (and we’re o.k. with that, too!).
The friends that will tell me when something in my life is rotten.
- Do I have friends like this?!!
- If not…am I praying for friends like this? We need to be!! They are vital!!
I love these verses that were mentioned Sunday…lets take a closer look at Hebrews 10:23-25.
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.
How exactly do we stimulate one another to love and good deeds? Let’s look at the word stimulate in this verse…I wonder if the meaning of it will surprise you as much as it did me!!
Stimulate- paroksysmós – a provocation which literally jabs (cuts) someone so they “must” respond. It also defines stimulate as provocation, irritation.
This made me laugh a little bit!! I was thinking that it was more like cheering one another on, encouraging each other to love and do good deeds.
Nooo, we are called to irritate and provoke, even jab our friends in such a way that it causes them to respond…to remind them to love and do good deeds!! Like a horse that won’t go, or needs to go faster…just give ’em a kick with these…
…to urge the horse to go on!
Don’t we need it sometimes though? Don’t we sometimes need a wake-up call, a kick with a spur, when we have “fallen asleep on the job”? When we have stepped off of the path and fallen out of alignment with God’s Word?
Jesus said in Luke 12:35-38,
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”
Jesus tells us to “Be dressed in readiness”, to be “alert”. We don’t want to be caught “asleep on the job” or unaware when Jesus returns! He says in verse 40…“…be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” So don’t we want those friends who will jab us…you know, like when we fall asleep at church? (I’m sure I never have, but I’ve seen people that do. 🙂 ) Don’t we want friends that will remind us to be ready!!! We need those people in our lives.
And we need to be bold enough to be a friend like that and put our spurs on to urge our friends forward.
Flattery will not bring us closer to Christ, but the Truth spoken in Love will.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. ~Ephesians 4:15
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. ~Proverbs 27:6
He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue. ~Proverbs 28:23
Look at this verse in Psalms…
“Let a righteous man strike me–that is a kindness; let him rebuke me–that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.” (Psalm 141:5)
David says that it would be a kindness…like oil on my head to be rebuked by a righteous man.
- So…how many friends do I have that would “jab” me or “strike” me to rebuke me? To “wake me up” when I’ve gotten lazy in my walk with Christ…lazy about loving and doing good deeds? Lazy about my prayer life and spending time in God’s Word. Lazy about spending time in God’s Word with other people. Lazy about boldly sharing the gospel.
Lord!! Send us these friends who will not let us fall asleep and be unprepared for Your return!! Send us friends with spurs on that will urge us forward!!! Let me be a TRUE friend and not just a friend with a flattering tongue!!
Hebrews 3:12-13 says “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We don’t always have to wear spurs. Usually it’s just the encouraging that we need when we are walking steadily on the path of righteousness. But we need to remember to encourage!! Some people are natural encouragers…it is their gift. Some are not, and it takes a little extra effort. But encourage!!
Sin is deceitful and sin will slowly begin to harden our hearts.
This verse tells us that encouragement in our walk with Christ will keep us from our hearts becoming hard. We can easily get discouraged on our own…and that is why we need those friends that will encourage us…and kick us with the spurs…when we need it!!
- Guess what?!! It is “Today”!!! WHO WILL I ENCOURAGE TODAY??
- Am I willing to be a friend that will put spurs on and speaks the Truth in love and value hearts over relationships?
- Do I view a rebuke from a righteous friend as a kindness, or as “oil on my head”…or does my pride shut out or shun the rebuke of faithful friends?
Father, You are my Faithful Encourager!! Your Word is the light for my path, Your Spirit whispers Truth to my soul. Thank you for the gift of friends and fellowship! Every good and perfect gift comes from You, the Father of Lights. Help me to be an encouraging friend. Holy Spirit, give me the words to say and the boldness to say them when I need to speak truth and encourage my friends, when I need to urge them on. Give me friends that will speak truth to me with boldness, and give me a willing heart to hear them and grow closer to You. Thank You for being my faithful Friend! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you…”