Hebrews 3:12-14 (NIV) — “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the Living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”
Ha ha ha … Are you a Star Wars fan? For the most part I am not, but occasionally there’s a quote or a scene I appreciate.
For example, from the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn: “Your focus determines your reality.”
In our opening Scripture, in my understanding of Christian basics, this is a passage of encouragement. Hence, “encouragement is a matter of focus.”
Allow me to share several short “Focusing Scriptures.”
Hebrews 3:1 — “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, who we acknowledge as our Apostle and High Priest.”
Colossians 3:2 — “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Romans 12:10 — “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above self.”
Obviously, anyone can quote Scripture, but living it is a whole other thing!
James 1:22 — “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Are you familiar with WWJD?
It’s an acronym for “What Would Jesus Do.” It started in the 1800s (not a typo). Charles Sheldon wrote a book entitled “In His Step: What Would Jesus Do?”
That phrase came to life again in the U.S. in the 1990s. It became a motto to encourage others to reflect on this phrase as a moral compass — you know, stop and think about what you’re doing or about to do.
From that perspective, I applaud the motto. In my early Christian walk, it was of very little help. I wasn’t raised in the church; I hadn’t heard very many sermons nor attended a lot of Bible studies or sat in many Sunday school lessons.
Because of the nature of my compulsiveness, I needed something more specific, more concrete, so the saying I have is “DWJD” — “Do What Jesus Did.”
For me it was a more practical, focused approach rather than speculating on what Jesus would do – leaving me with my own ideas that I really didn’t need at that time.
It’s common knowledge that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek and Aramaic.
If we look back at our opening passage of Scripture, there’s “but encourage one another daily.”
I’m not a student of Greek, but I am fond of word searches like this Greek word: “parakaleo.” It translates as “para” (beside) plus “kaleo” (to call out). Hence the definition, “to encourage is to come alongside someone and tell them what they need to hear.”
Ha ha ha … How many of us have developed the instinctive reflex to cringe when we hear, “I say this in love. This is what you need to hear”? Whether it’s directed at you or toward another, the hearing of it just sets you on edge.
I agree and advocate the idea that we are able to encourage others when we focus on Christ Jesus. We can’t give what we don’t have. So I told myself, “Get some!”
Hebrews 12:2 — “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.”
I personally find a great amount of instruction and encouragement in the 12th chapter of Hebrews. For example: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”
We become an encouragement when we focus on others.
I submit to you the Word of Action.
Hebrews 10:24 — “And let us consider how we spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”