A Fight With Your Friends
I've fought my best friends. I think that's true of every little boy. No matter how good of friends you are, there comes a day when a hard foul on the basketball court turns into a brawl. Or your buddy said that his dad could take your dad one too many times. That's what boys do. We brawl. And then we're best friends.
Those pushes and shoves come naturally. The subsequent apologies are important. Those bonds last forever.
You know that those boys who fought with you will also fight for you for the rest of your life.
As adults, it's not about fistfights, but hard conversations. Disagreements arise. Challenges are levied. Accountability isn't easy. It's irritating but life-changing.
Hebrews 10:24 describes it like this:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.Heb. 10:24
The word translated "stir up" is a word that is also translated in Acts 15:39 as "sharp disagreement." We might describe it as "to irritate." The word means that you know how to provoke someone. It's like picking a fight with your friends.
In Hebrews 10:24, "stir up" is a negative word that is used in a positive sense. Our call is to literally "irritate" one another to love and good works.
And sometimes that's a hard, irritating conversation from a friend.
The word "consider" in Hebrews 10:24 means "to study" someone. It means that we not only study the Bible together but that we study one another.
When you study someone, it doesn't take long to know what irritates them. Sadly, most of us stay in the relational shallows of avoiding irritation. We want our time together to be pleasant, so we avoid disagreement and hard conversations.
But the Bible calls us to study one another and to "irritate" one another to "love and good works."
If you want the best of me, you can't be afraid to offend me. If I want the best of you, I can't be afraid to offend you. We need relational liberty to talk with one another about one another.
When you study me, what do you see? Plenty of people are willing to critique me. But can I also offer a pop quiz on you? That's what disciples of Christ should do for one another.
We have to challenge one another. And there may be times that it's downright irritating, but that's OK. Because it's also loving.
Remember. I've fought all of my best friends. You probably have too.
Pressing one another toward love and good works in our commitment to Christ is sometimes messy. It's not pretty, and it's not perfect. But we need it. This sort of consideration and positive irritation of one another to "love and good works" gets us out of the relational shallows. It presses us into a deeper relationship with Christ and with one another.
We can't be afraid to offend. We should be terrified to stay in the relational shallows absent of love and good works.
Bible Study and Challenge
Read Hebrews 10:19-39.
- List the commands in this passage. What needs to change for you to obey them?
- There are some great promises in this passage - and some hard ones. List them. Do you live as if you believe each of them?
- How does this passage call for you to pray for other brothers and sisters in Christ?
Do you have some people in your walk with Christ with whom you can have those hard conversations that challenge you? Share this devotional challenge with someone today and tell them that you would like that kind of accountability from a friend. Tell them that you want to go deeper with them and with Christ. Pray about this conversation before you have it. See how the Lord works to lead you to that person and how the relationship develops.
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