“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”
Hebrews 10:24

As yet another Online Bible Study begins, we were asked to reflect on the topic of community. What does community mean to you? What do you need from community? What can you give to community?  All of this brought to mind how thankful I am for those who have been part of my community and how blessed I am to be able to encourage others along the way.  In Hebrews 10:24 we are told: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  This verse embodies my vision of community.  Let’s break this verse down to see the various aspects of community mentioned.

And let us consider…

This tells us we should be thinking of how we can be in community with others.  This is intentional.  This is an important truth for me.  Left to my own devices, I might curl up in my house with a good book, avoiding others.  History has shown this to be a bad move.  When I am on my own, the voices in my head that cause discouragement and dissension take over.  I begin to see only the negative and it is difficult to get a grasp on the reality of each situation.  I lose some of my empathy for others, and I lose the joy that comes from serving others.

how we may spur one another on…

This is the essence of community.  We must spur each other on.  In order to further understand what this means, let’s take a look at the meaning of spur: “to prick with or as if with a spur or spurs; incite or urge on” (from dictionary.com).  This is not a call to just lead by example, this is a time to incite each other to action, to urge each other to move forward.  This is active and personal.  This is a call to community in the most loving sense.  I would be amiss if I did not note the verb spur, as used here, is derived from the use of spurs, as an object, to provoke a horse to movement.  The spurs cause pain for the horse, which causes the horse to move forward.  Is this not true of us? We need to hear truth, which is sometimes painful, to move us forward.  We are responsible to help each other move forward, even if sometimes it is painful.  This is not to be confused with saying hurtful words simply because they may be true.  Remember that our words must be carefully thought out, not simply spewed out according to our own perception of the situation.  Which brings us to the last part of this verse…

toward love and good deeds…

We are not simply inciting each other toward any action, but toward love and good deeds.  This goes back to what Jesus identified as the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Every commandment hinges on loving God with all of ourselves, and as an extension, loving our neighbor as ourselves.  This love leads to good deeds.  The love that God lavishly bestowed upon us with the birth, death and resurrection of Christ should cause us to want to share that love with others!  When be believe in Christ, our actions become loving toward God, one’s self and others.  As humans, we tend to step away from this perspective now and again, so being surrounded by a community of believers is important in order to bring each other back to Christ. 

I am in need of community rather frequently in this stage of life.  While I cherish being able to stay home with my children, talking to my children all day can be a bit frustrating.  I use the different communities to continually bring perspective to my life and to help me keep my life ordered according to my priorities.  They show me love so that it is easier for me to show love to others. They remind me of the joy in all things. These communities have helped to make me a better Christian, mother, wife, friend, and so much more.

I find community in a variety of places.  I find community on the internet through social media and online Bible Study.  I have a number of people who have affected my life who I have never met face to face.  These people encourage me with their words and inspire me with their actions.  I find community in my church and Bible Study.  These people are a physical presence in my life who can physically care for me in ways that I cannot get through online communities.  Probably the most important community to me are my friends and family, some of which fit in the previous two categories.  These are the people who are involved in my every day life.  They know the good, bad and ugly of my life and continue to show me love.  They have shared in my joy and my sorrow in ways for which I am so grateful.  I am blessed by each person who has been a part of my community.

I have made it my goal over the past several years to love others and encourage them more intentionally.  Given connections through social media as well as physical connections throughout life, I come into contact with many people.  By being intentional, I have better been able to encourage others through God’s grace.  I am more dedicated to my relationship with Christ, so I am better able to see how He wants me to help others.  I share the good and the bad of my life in a way that brings God glory and spurs others toward love and good deeds.  I want to continue to discern God’s voice in my life so that I obey that voice more frequently and mutual encouragement could become even greater!

I thank each of you for being a part of my community and I pray that God uses me to be a faithful part of yours as well!

Spur one another

What does community mean to you? What do you need from community? What can you give to community? – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.W5ZmXnNC.dpuf
What does community mean to you? What do you need from community? What can you give to community? – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.W5ZmXnNC.dpuf
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