Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:19-25
While working through the above Scripture, I did a study of the key words in the passage. When I got to verse 24, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds,” I looked up the Greek word that had been translated consider, and I read the following definition: “to perceive, remark, observe, understand, to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.” In this verse, the writer is telling his audience of fellow believers that they should take time and carefully contemplate ways in which they can move each other to find deeper and better ways of loving and serving Christ and one another. We are to literally spend our time thinking of ways to agitate one another to love more and work better for the cause and glory of Christ. When I originally read the full definition of the word translated as consider, I was convicted, because I know that I do not spend much intentional time contemplating ways to help my fellow believers have a closer walk with Christ.
I then searched consider to see where else this word was used in Scripture. I found that it has been translated in different ways in different parts of the New Testament, but the meaning is the same. In Matthew 7:3, Jesus uttered this word in a very different context: 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Jesus is speaking here during the Sermon on the Mount, and He tells His listeners that they are spending their time attentively considering and fixing their eyes on the sin in the lives of those around them while ignoring the sin in their own lives.
The comparison of this word in these two passages further proved to me the sharpness of the double edged sword that is the Word of God, because it pierced me, dividing bone and marrow. Just from these two verses, I have a lifetime’s worth of work before me. I realized immediately that most of the time, I have these instructions completely backwards. Not only am I not attentively considering ways that I can spur on my brothers and sisters in Christ to love and good deeds, but I spend a lot of my time attentively considering their sin while ignoring my own.
This week, I am praying that the Lord will break me of my habit of considering the specks in the eyes of my friends and family and will replace that sin with the God-glorifying habit of considering how to spur them on to love and good deeds. I am also praying that I will be more willing to consider the planks in my own eyes so that He is able to remove them and make me a more able servant for Him.
What will you consider this week?