And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near. - Hebrews 10:25 NLT
Do you ever feel intimidated by God's will? It can stir numerous emotions and expectations, especially if we don't feel like we 'measure up.' But God, in His love, provides relationships for us to enjoy and learn from. Isolation can cause us to miss the joy of relationships. We have all seen the effects of quarantine and how isolation hurts people.
There are 3 unfortunate results of isolation we should avoid:
1. Loneliness. This can happen subtly and be accelerated if we begin isolating ourselves.
2. Anxiety. Anxiety affects all of us, but when isolation and loneliness combine, new worries can develop and overwhelm us.
3. Depression. Unfortunately, isolation, loneliness, and anxieties can put us into the stubborn darkness of depression.
How can we avoid these symptoms? God has beautiful remedies to deliver as we intentionally interact with God's family.
Here are three ways God desires us to connect to His family:
1. God desires us to love His people. I remember hearing a sermon on God's love for His church. I was challenged to love His people as He does. God knows we need relationships, because dynamic relationships meet our mutual needs. People provide love, friendship, ideas, emotions, spirituality, personality, and all life offers. Hebrews 10:25 says," Let us not neglect meeting together…" so let's consider how we can model God's love for people.
2. God desires us to encourage His people. When I first went into ministry, my pastor said, "God is going to profoundly bless your ministry." I shed tears of joy and an empowered smile. I have countless memories of encouraging conversations with godly men and women. A phrase, a statement, note, text, prayer, or a hug are many ways people have empowered me. The writer of Hebrews says, "but let us encourage one another…" (Hebrews 10:25). What a privilege to encourage others and break the chains of isolation. God loves it when we are an encourager.
3. God desires us to motivate His people. God expects us to be 'spiritual caffeine' to others as we 'think about how we might stimulate others to love and do good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)
As we connect to Jesus, isolation dies, and others are prompted to do good works God called us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Let's open our hearts to others, meet needs, be encouraged, and know the joy and strength of Jesus as we connect to His people. (Nehemiah 8:10)
1. On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to the local church? What might you do to increase your score?
2. God desires that we 'consider' how to stimulate others to love and do good deeds. What specific people can you encourage, and when might you fulfill this interaction? Be clear and measurable.