Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Consider one another

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you are as well. Once again today, I would like to share a thought from Rick Renner's "Sparkling Gems from the Greek."

Do you ever get so busy and self-consumed that you forget there are people all around you who have needs and challenges too? It's true that we are often so concerned about ourselves that we forget or bypass people who are struggling terribly, not realizing that they need a special act or word to encourage them. This is especially sad when it happens inside the church, because we are supposed to be a spiritual family who genuinely cares for one another and who helps meet each other's needs. This is why Hebrews 10:24 says, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."

The word "consider" is from the Greek word katanoeo, a compound of the words kata and noeo. The word kata depicts something that is moving downward; the word noeo (from the word nous) depicts the mind and means to think. When the two words are placed together, the new word means to thoroughly think something through or to ponder something from the top all the way to the bottom. It is the idea of mulling something over; carefully contemplating a matter; pondering and carefully looking at a particular issue; or examining and fully studying a subject.This word pictures someone who is so concerned about someone else that he has taken the time to really consider that other person. He has observed the person's ups and downs and his highs and lows. He has studied to find out what helps that person feel encouraged and what events tend to pull him down. Because he has determined to really know and understand that other person, he invests a great deal of time and concentration into studying and getting to know that other person. This kind of knowledge doesn't come by accident, but by determined pursuit.

In light of this understanding, we must remember that although the local church is to be a place where we can come to worship and hear the Word of God preached and taught, it is also a place where believers should "consider one another" as this verse commands. The writer of Hebrews uses this word to convey the picture of a loving community where people are vitally concerned about each others' welfare. In fact, they are constantly observing and contemplating each other to know how to encourage and provoke each other to love and to good works. Not only are we to consider one another, but the Bible goes on to say we are also to provoke one another unto love and good works.

The word "provoke" is the Greek word paraxusmos. The word para means alongside, and it carries the idea of being close. The second part of the word is the Greek word xusmos, which means to sharpen something, such as a knife, and indicates a very sharp situation. When you put the two words together, the compound word describes someone who has come alongside of someone else for the purpose of prodding and impelling that person to do something. You may have already guessed that "provoking" one another can be either a positive or a negative thing! One translation for this word paraxusmos would be to call into combat. Throughout the New Testament, the word paraxusmos is usually translated to mean to irritate, to incite, to anger, to inflame, or to enrage. Obviously, this kind of provoking is very bad!

But in Hebrews 10:24, the word "provoking" is telling us that our relationships with other believers should incite us to become better, stronger, and bolder in the Lord.
How can you provoke other believers in a positive way? How can you stimulate your brother in the Lord in such a way that you make him want to walk in love and do good works? How can you sharpen and inspire the fellow believer who is in need of endurance?

You can come alongside that person and love him enough not to leave him in discouragement and defeat. You can sharpen him, prod him, impel him, and inspire him to keep on fighting the good fight of faith! All believers need to be provoked at times, no matter what their position is in the Body of Christ. Everyone needs a loving push in the right direction now and then!

A paraphrase of this verse might be the following: "And constantly be observing one another, seriously contemplating, studying, and examining each other, until you know exactly how to incite and stimulate each other to love and to good works."

"Lord, who do you want me to consider today?" Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


LAURIE said...

another great Word. A servants heart is one who puts others needs first and that definetly should involve considering others first.

Another thought to consider is when we are the ones in need to ALSO consider others. There is such blessing in serving others during your time of need. I would have to ask myself "when I am in need do I consider others or myself?" Is the focus put on others reaching out to me because of my need or do I lay my need aside and look for someone I can consider?

I hope that I would consider others. A thought provoking post today, thanks for sharing with us...

Blessings, Laurie