Spur On One Another

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Living a Fruitful Life
One of the most powerful ways that we can spur one another on towards fruitful living, no matter where we find ourselves, is through our words. Speaking words of life into the darkest and most uncomfortable circumstances can actually bring best version of ourselves forward. The best version of ourselves is the one that looks more like Jesus.  God doesn't love you because of anything you have done or anything you will do. He only loves you because of who you are through his son, Jesus. The people with the closest and most intimate relationships with God would likely not be where they are today without people throughout their life who have spurred them onto fruitful living, no matter where they found themselves. Do you have that in your life? Do you have that type of community and people speaking those words of life into you? We, as believers, should be a community that is a city on a hill; a colony of Heaven in this lost and broken world. We need to be willing to step into the pain and the discomfort to spur one another on towards drawing near to God, fixing our eyes on eternity, and spurring one another on to fruitful lives through the words that we say.  The greatest testament to the fact that the way of Jesus is better than the way of the world is the fruit and the transformation in our lives. This world is looking for that type of transformation, that type of hope, and that type of life. And so, we spur one another on so that message of Jesus rings loud and clear because Jesus is coming again, and there's still so much work to be done in this world. Discussion/Reflection Questions: Is your life bearing fruit that is representative of the difference that Jesus has made for you? Why or why not?
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Fix Our Eyes on Eternity
Consider what the author of the letter of the Hebrews is inviting us to: This idea of spurring one another towards fixing our eyes on eternity because he knows that just because we start following Jesus, it doesn't mean that we're going to have eyes fixed on heaven perfectly a hundred percent of the time. The letter to the Hebrew seems designed to persuade Christians to not go back to a much safer position in society of not being a follower of Jesus. For the original recipients of this letter, leaving Christianity might have meant not having your home taken from you, or having your belongings confiscated, or being arrested, or being smeared in the public square. It wasn’t happening when the letter of Hebrews is written, but later on leaving the faith meant maybe not being killed or martyred. What are you willing to give up or sacrifice for your faith in Jesus Christ? We live in a culture that is often so opposed even to healthy confrontation. While Jesus certainly would not advocate for being a hypocrite, you should make sure your heart is also being examined before you point to or ask someone to address a sin struggle in their life. We need hold one another accountable, in a loving and kind way. In fact, the apostle Paul in first Corinthians 5 makes it abundantly clear that although we are not to judge those outside of the faith, we are absolutely called to hold on another accountable within the church. It can be difficult to hear, but when we don't hold one another accountable, that is the most unloving thing that we could do as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Sometimes the most loving thing that we can do is to step in the way of a brother and sister that we see going down the wrong path and point them back by calling out their sin and allowing people to also do that to us as a church family. Discussion/Reflection Question: When has a brother or sister in Christ felt safe enough to hold you accountable in the past?
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Intimacy with God
When we think about drawing close to God and growing a deeper relationship with him, it’s important for us to notice the heart posture that we need to have. It's not a heart that's walled up or closed off, where we aren’t truthful and vulnerable. It's a heart that's sincere, open, and bears everything before God, including our fears, our doubts, our insecurities, our worries, and the things that keep us up at night. Why? Because we trust that he can handle it, and he wants us to bring them to him. While he already knows everything going on in our heads and hearts, he yearns for us to talk to him about it and to rest our minds knowing he has everything under control. However, there’s a problem. We live in a world that has oftentimes given us harmful and painful views of God that directly affect our ability to step into intimacy with him. Many of us have struggled with these views throughout our lives. Things like this: God is just an angry old man in the sky, or that he's a cold-hearted judge, or that he's completely distant and disconnected from this world. Or he's an impersonal force that we can tap into sometimes, but there's no personal relationship. But regardless of what view the world puts forward of who God is, our anchor, our standard, and what we have to hold onto is who Jesus says our God is. Our God's arms are open wide beckoning in begging his children, his people, to come back to him.  Discussion/Reflection Questions: Do you feel that you can be open and vulnerable in your conversations with God? Why or why not?