“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.”
Once upon a time, I was a runner. It looked a lot more like a form of jogging or somewhat fast walking. I’m sure it was not pretty. In a race, I resembled the tortoise, not the hare. Being slow, like the tortoise, made me a lone runner. When I did get out on the road, I popped in the earbuds, ran a little (and walked a lot) until I tired of running. I kept my head down and hoped the drivers in passing cars didn’t recognize me. Oh, help me if they honked!
Some things are done alone. Just like lone running, our relationship with Christ grows through a personal pursuit. Our intimate conversations with Jesus are spent alone in prayer. Reading God’s Word is done alone; no one can do it for us. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit can only be done by each of us–alone.
But some things are meant to be done together.
God calls us to help each other–to spur one another on. We are designed for relationships.
God did not send the disciples out individually to share the gospel. He sent them in pairs. Doing so probably served two purposes: to help each other and be a witness to the testimony shared with the people.
The early church lived together, prayed together, worshiped together, and shared all God had given them.
God wants us to join each other in the same way. He has given us friends, sisters in Christ, who sit next to us when we need comfort, and hold our hand as we weep. We have women who will listen to our story and love us anyway. We have friends who support us when the world seems to be against us and pray for us without ceasing. We have women who will share whatever they have been given.
Running the race is made easier when we run with help.
There is a woman in your midst today that needs someone to run (or walk) beside her. Can you be that help? Or, maybe you need the encouragement of a sister who has been where you are walking. We are given opportunities every day to encourage and spur each other on in our struggles.
When I was running, I remember when my sweet sister-in-law spurred me on to run farther and longer than I could have expected. While I was visiting, I suited up for a quick jog before dinner. As a lone runner I can be slow and I could quit without anyone knowing, but today she decided to join me. “Oh, no!,” I thought, “my weakness would be exposed.”
She was kind and started slow, but after a few minutes she ran faster, so I ran faster. She ran longer than I would have before we stopped for a walk, so I ran longer. She pushed me, and before I knew it, I had run faster and longer than I would have on my own. She spurred me on to go father.
God sends us people in our lives that push us beyond our limits and spur us on to a stronger relationship with Christ. Barnabas encouraged Paul to join the disciples; then he urged the disciples to accept Paul as a believer. Paul went on to encourage Timothy who became one of the youngest leaders of the early church. God gives us people to help us along–together.
Who can you spur on today? Is there a new Christian in your midst that needs someone to encourage them to a fuller relationship with Christ? Maybe, you need someone to help you. God has provided that person who is ready, able, and lovingly willing to do so. Don’t be afraid to run with them; be honest that you need help. You just may run longer and farther than you would have alone.
We are never meant to run this race alone. God surrounds us and leads us to people we need and people who need us. All we have to do is join the race.
Father God, thank you for creating us to learn, work and be together as your body. Open our eyes and hearts to see those who need spurring on to run after a relationship with You. For those who need encouragement like me, I pray you will send someone to encourage and help. We love You, Father, and want to run with purpose and love toward your will. Amen.