Encourage: Spur On
Begin by reading the Reflection Scripture out loud or write it longhand.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:22-23 NIV
‘Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves…’
–CS Lewis, The Great Divorce
Most of us are comfortable with God’s kindness. But when you consider His sternness, what emotions surface?
God’s sternness is a kindness in many ways.
In the Reflection Scripture, who is God stern toward? Has God been stern with you at times? How? What was your initial response? Did it keep you from falling away? Do you see it now as kindness?
Sometimes, a stern word encourages one to escape self-deception, self-pity, or self-destructive behavior.
Who have you been stern with? Did it work to encourage them? Why or why not?
God’s sternness has a two-fold purpose. One, the turning of hearts back to Him. Two, the final destruction of rebellion and evil so His people’s joy prevails in the end.
Note: The ground we are traveling this week is sacred. We must be careful to only spur on others in God’s love and grace, being sure to examine our motives along the way. He alone is Judge. We come alongside God in His purpose and desire to turn hearts back to Him.
Remember His kindness toward you. Ask Him to fill you with His love and grace, and remove any legalistic judgment lurking within.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16
What is the goal in the building up of the church? What is the church susceptible to until we are fully mature? What is essential to the maturation process of the church?
By speaking the truth in love to other Believers, we grow up in Christ-likeness.
Is it hard for you to speak the truth in love to those you know who have been deceived? gone astray? Why? Can you imagine correcting someone in love without sounding harsh?
Ask God to grow you up and encourage you to speak truth in love. Begin by opening your heart to the loving discipline He gives you.