"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another with love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near." -Hebrews 10: 23-25
There are not many people whose lives really encourage us to press on, to walk in the presence of the Lord, to love others graciously and unconditionally and to believe God with all my heart. Thankfully, though, there are a few people who do make me feel more filled up when I have spent time with them--more ready to face life again, to finish well, to trust God.
Often, I have shared that if you want to find the best kind of friend, find someone you can do ministry with--someone who loves God and wants to make a difference in the world. In the midst of working together, praying, and serving people, you will grow together in memory making, faith, and accountability.
There are many wonderful people in my life, but only a handful who are truly close to me and really pursue me--to take the initiative to engage in my heart's issues and also share with me what they have been learning. These friends pray with me, send me emails to tell me they love me or appreciate what I have written, and find other ways to take time to invest in my life. In other words, they do not just love and accept me--they purposefully engage my soul each time we are together, and even when we are not! They pursue me and build me up, without me have to ask.
Choosing to pursue is an act of obedience. Taking responsibility to encourage and to give life-giving words, to redeem our time is one of the best reflections of the reality of Christ in our lives. God always initiated. Purposefully reaching out to those He would touch through us is the foundation of initiative--that intention that says, "I will pursue you--I will care for you--I will encourage you." When we pursue our children, our husband, our friends and others in our lives who may be needy, we can preserve them from despair, condemnation, and surrendering to less than God’s best. Even being intentional through smiles and cups of tea shared can transform lives. We may even help them change their destiny, by giving them the courage to hold fast their hope--to end well--to wait long enough for God to show His grace.
So He sends us to initiate, to find those who need the love and life of Christ, before they even ask. We don't initiate because we feel like it--we may be weary, and discouraged ourselves. But we do it out of obedience, because He did it, and it is His supernatural grace that drives us to give of ourselves to others.
Take a moment to complete the reflection and application below:
• “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 In this verse, we see God’s initiative! Because He loved us, He gave His Son. Who does God bring to mind that you might need to take initiative with, today?
• Sometimes when I start considering reaching out to a child or friend, I think, “Oh, I can always do it later.” But Gal. 6:10 reminds us: “So then, while we have opportunity let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Opportunity doesn’t last forever! Think of someone who has been a wonderful influence in your life, and write them a quick note of thanks.