“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 ESV).
“I love you!”
“I love you more!”
I remember someone saying that love is not a competition. In some ways I agree with that. In others, not so much.
In a competition there are winners and losers. The winner gets the prize, whatever that might be, and the loser goes home with nothing. But I believe that love itself is the prize, not as something we attain, but as something we give.
Love is never wasted. It is never used up. And it is never in vain.
The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5); I’m asking that He increase my love.
Jesus and Paul taught us that love is the fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 22:36-40, Romans 13:10). 1 John 4:2 says, “if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
But love is also like a competition. There are spectators and there are participants. Spectators are those who sit aside, allowing others to love them without giving love in return. Participants choose to love, whether or not they are loved in return.
I am an amateur athlete. I’m not really competitive—I’m never in contention to win—but I engage in races to challenge myself. One thing that I have noticed is that, whether I am in a running race, bike race, or triathlon, everyone spurs one another on, offering encouragement when it is needed. This camaraderie makes it easier to keep pushing on through the tough times.
And we finally come to our verse. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 ESV). Just as with the athletic races I’ve mentioned, we should consider ourselves, not only as active participants in allowing the love of Christ to work in and through us, but also as those who encourage others on to success in the same, never concerned that we might be outdone.
My prayer is that we can all learn to love freely and completely through the Holy Spirit; that we would not shy away from loving for fear that our love would not be returned; that we would love fully and unconditionally as did Jesus.
Blessings on your day!