S36P4 – Saintly encouragement: the power to love

Heb. 10:23-25

Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful; and let us consider how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day approaching.

We all know that it is our job to be Jesus Christ to the world. This means one of our predominant character traits should be love. There are times when we feel exceptionally prompted to walk in the love of Christ. For example, taking a short trip to a foreign country for the purpose of missions may put Christlike compassion at the forefront of our minds. We spend time prior to the trip preparing for the work ahead, and we arrive excited to just love people. Depending on our reception, it may not take much time for that excitement to wane. It simply is not always easy to be loving and to do good to others, especially when others do not behave the same with us. We encounter this in our normal daily lives as well, when we walk out into the world and have to try to love our enemies, which seem to greatly outnumber our brothers and sisters. Luckily, those brothers and sisters are a great resource when we need added motivation to love and to do good.

If we pray for discernment, we will receive it. Once we have discernment, we are able to notice when a brother or sister is going through a difficult time with respect to our calling to love and to do good to all. Sometimes this is the result of a single interaction that deflates a person’s good intentions. Other times our brother or sister may simply experience regular negativity in their relationships and feel as though their efforts are simply not fruitful. We do not always have it within ourselves to remind ourselves to go to God and ask for the endurance to continue to persevere to do good things. Sometimes it takes another one of God’s children to motivate us to change our attitude and continue to do as we are called even if no fruit is apparent. Actually, the act of encouraging our brothers and sisters to love and to do good is itself an act of love and goodness. And if our encouragement of others to do so does not appear to produce fruit, this does not mean that we stop encouraging them.

Living in this world can be very difficult for the God-fearing Christian. It does not take any encouragement or motivation to do that which is bad and unjust. No one must get us fired up for being selfish. Those things are very easy in this world. However, continuing to love and to do good to others when there is no reciprocity can take its toll if we are not refreshed in the Spirit. Part of that refreshment comes from talking with the brethren and unburdening the feelings we may have of failure in this area. It is from those conversations that encouragement is born. When that encouragement is given with the right heart and received with the right heart, it gives birth to a renewed dedication to love and to do good to others regardless of the apparent outcome. Father, thank You for loving us and doing good to us first, and help us to discern when our brothers and sisters need encouragement to continue to do your good work.