Monday, January 20, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Spur On

Spur On
A devotional by Malinda Fugate

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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." 
–Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)

Jesus Christ changed everything. 

The very first believers were learning how to transition from their Jewish rituals to follow Christ, and it wasn’t as simple as attending church once a week. Yes, they gathered together regularly to worship and learn (and often shared a delicious meal!), but their new lifestyle required a daily difference. Letters from Paul and the other apostles helped them as they walked by faith in the Lord.

The writer of Hebrews knew that changes from Jewish tradition to Christianity took some adjustments. He took care to discuss how God remained faithful and consistent while fulfilling His covenant though His Son. The people knew and believed that Christ died and lived again, so now what would they do about it?

Suddenly, God was closer to His people than ever before. No longer was a priestly mediator required; Jesus did that once and for all! So what is the response to an up-close God? The answer remains for us today as true as it was for the early believers. Hebrews 10:22 makes the priority clear: “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.” Snuggle up closely.

Spend as much time with Him as possible. Additionally, we are to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Christian life is full of challenges, but survival is possible because of our God who keeps promises 
  including promises to care for us, fight for us, and never leave us. 

Life in Christ begins in our individual hearts, but we are not intended to walk with Him alone. In the very next breath, the writer of Hebrews speaks of community. “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together…. encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). To “spur” is to urge, and most of us can’t help but think of a cowboy’s footwear, motivating his horse to gallop! From our hearts overflowing with God’s love, we spill onto one another to encourage and support. 

We can inspire enthusiastic action that glorifies Him!

The early church had the uncertainty of newness, and thankfully we have the opportunity to learn from our spiritual ancestors. They probably could relate well to some of our modern challenges, like a charged political climate that divides friends and family or the pressure to focus on our individual selves while the Lord calls us to be community-minded. Christ was as countercultural then as He is now! 

These instructions were meant for such times as these. They are a prescription for the ills of society. Jesus goes against the flow and through His word shows us how to live the best life in Him. It starts inside and works its way out as the kingdom of God spreads quicker than a mustard plant, heart to heart in a growing community of brothers and sisters in faith. When we are actively living God’s word, it affects everyone and everything around us.

As we draw near to God who holds our hearts, let’s look at how we can spur on one another. Sending a text, email, or hand-written note of support goes a long way to lift up a loved one. Invitations to serve and worship the Lord together strengthen the body of Christ. 

When we see someone stepping out in faith, strengthening their cause with our time, money, and prayer glorifies God and fulfills His instructions to spur. James tells us we can’t just hear the Word, we have to do what it says. 

Take action today to be intentionally close to our Heavenly Father and pull someone else in close with you. What can you do today to encourage a sibling in the faith?

Author Bio:
Malinda Fugate writes from the heart. 

Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books, including The Other Three Sixteens (May 2020 release with Ambassador International), Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on Amazon, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal. 

Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.

Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays. Malinda lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

When she's not writing or working at church, she might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area.

Connect with Malinda:

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