5. The Scriptures speak about encouraging one another each day (Hebrews 3:13). The letter of Hebrews is written to a group of second generation Christians who were struggling to stay in the race (12:1ff). As Jewish Christians, the pressure was being ratcheted up on them by their family and friends to reject their belief in Jesus as the Messiah and return to the old law (10:19ff & 25ff). The people not only needed encouragement, they needed to give others encouragement (3:13, 10:25). This is important because it leads to the truth of community— that we cannot use our days well unless we’re actively helping others to do the same.
Arthur Gordon tells of a young group of writers who met on a regular basis to critique each other’s work. Although there was much talent among them, they chose to focus solely on what was wrong with their work. Their sessions were like small scale wars where they enacted a scorched earth policy. Another group formed at the same time in response to the first group. Like that group, they shared their writings with each other and asked for feedback. Unlike the first group though, these writers tried to be encouraging when they could. Over the years, the two contrasting styles produced drastically different results. From the first group, no work of note was produced. From the second group came several successful writers including Majorie Rawlings, best known for her novel, The Yearling. And with this, we’re back where we began because giving ourselves to others is the result of dying to self and so Christ can reign in our lives (Romans 13:8ff).
I would caution you not to look at any of these things as a list. They are not things to do, they are things to be. The Pharisees focused solely on deeds and as a result possessed a caricature of faith rather than the genuine thing. We are to look at these like we look at being a husband, a wife, a parent, or a grandparent. Those are not things we do (though they call on us to perform several things), they are what we are.
As we seek to live discipled lives, there will still be times when we lose our grip on daily living. We’ll still occasionally have the experience that I saw written on a poster, “I’ve been trying to live one day at a time, but lately a whole bunch of days have ganged up on me!”
May God bless you richly as you seek to give each day back to Him!