"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrew 10:24-25
Believe it or not, I love to run. Some might call it jogging. In a race, I resemble the tortoise, not the hare. Being slow, like the tortoise, I am a lone runner. I pop in the earbuds, run (and walk a lot more than run) until I’m tired of running. I keep my head down and hope the drivers of the passing cars don’t recognize me. Oh, help me if they honk!
Some things have to be done alone. Just like lone running, your relationship with Christ can only be built by a personal (lone) pursuit. Your intimate conversations with Jesus are done alone. Reading God’s Word is done alone; no one can do it for you. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit can only be done by you--alone.
Fortunately, God did not make us to do all things alone. We are also meant to help each other. We are meant for relationships with each other. God especially never meant for us to do the hard stuff alone. For instance, God did not send the disciples out individually to share the gospel. No, He sent them in pairs. This probably served two purposes: to help each other and be a witness to the testimony shared with people.
The early church lived together, prayed together, worshiped together, and shared all God had given them with each other. We are meant to join other believers in the walk with Christ. The Holy Spirit enables us in all we do, and we are constantly in the presence of God Himself, and not only is He here, but he gives us people in our lives that help us along. He has given you friends, sisters in Christ, who sit next to you when you are in need of comfort, and hold your hand and pray as you weep. You have women who will listen to your story and tell you the truth. You have friends who support you when the world seems to be against you. We have help.
Running the race is made easier when you run with help. Recently, my sweet sister-in-law helped me run farther and longer than I could have expected. While I was visiting her and my brother, I suited up for a quick jog before dinner. As a lone runner I can be slow and quit without anyone knowing, but today she decided to join me. “Oh, no!,” I thought, “my weakness would be exposed.” I tried to talk her out of joining me. “I’m too slow for you,” I emphasized. “You don’t want to run with me.” But she insisted, and we hit the road.
She was kind and started out slow, but after a few minutes she ran faster, so I ran faster. She ran longer than I would have before we stopped for a walk, so I ran longer. She spurred me on, and before I knew it, I had run faster and longer than I would have on my own. What my sister-in-law was doing, runners call being “a rabbit,” making the slower runners chase the faster runners. Apparently, this method is supposed to improve your running. On this day, this run, my sweet sister-in-law had helped me do better than I could have on my own.
This inspiration spurred me to continue running longer and harder. God sends us people in our lives that push us beyond our personal limits and spur us on to a stronger relationship with Christ. Barnabas encouraged Paul to join the disciples. He urged the disciples to accept Paul and accept him as a believer. Paul went on to encourage Timothy who became one of the youngest leaders of the early church. God gives us people to help us along--together. Who can you spur on today? Is there a new Christian in your midst that needs a “rabbit,” someone to encourage them to a fuller relationship with Christ? Maybe, you need someone to help you. God has provided that person who is ready, able, and lovingly willing to do so. Don’t be afraid to run with them. You just may run longer and farther than you would have alone.
Father God, thank you for creating us to learn, work and be together as your body. Open our eyes and hearts to see those who need spurring on to run after a relationship with You. For those who need a “rabbit,” like me, I pray you will send someone to encourage and help. We love You, Father, and want to run with purpose and love toward your will. Amen.