Monday, August 30, 2010

Take This In

There is a lot bombarding us every day as Christians. I can't be the only one who sees it. We're called to go out into the world to share the gospel, to be salt and light, to not stay holed up in our own little groups, guarding the gift of salvation as if it were the last food ration to be had amongst starving people. (Ooooh, I need to give myself a kick in the butt and get out there more myself!)

But before I go off on a rabbit trail, I don't know about you but I can't shut off all the accompanying noise in the world I'm in daily but not of (John 17: 14-16). There is a lot out there – music, books, movies, television shows and the like. There is a lot that can easily be avoided. And sometimes we know all the ways to avoid things, yet still make stupid choices. Other times there is stuff that is mostly good, with bits of garbage to wade through as well. It can be crazy and distracting, to say the least. Even frustrating.

So what can we do? Is there a magic pill or an easy 5-step program to follow to help us be in this crazy world, be salt and light, and not fall prey to its, well, mess?

Oh, there is!

First off, this personally encouraged me a great deal when I read it this morning:

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all
the day;
For surely there is a hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off.
~ Proverbs 23:17-18 (NKJ)

I was also thinking about the different times I've heard how we're to encourage one another as Christians to keep the faith, keep doing the right things, to keep on running this marathon race we're in called life. This in turn got me to thinking about the word 'encourage'.

Encourage is a verb made up of the prefix 'en' and the noun 'courage'. We're all familiar with what courage is -- according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (very cool, by the way) it is the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty”.

Now what about the prefix 'en'? I wasn't really clear on what it added to the word courage, so I decided to some digging. Again, according to Merriam-Webster, when it is added to a noun and subsequently forms a verb (as is the case with 'encourage'), it means one of two things: cause to be put into or onto, cover with, go into or onto

Think about it. When you encourage someone, you are causing them to be courageous. You're putting courage into or onto them, and even covering them with courage! Wow!

It really makes me read the following passage from Hebrews in a new light:
My friends, watch out! Don't let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God. You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called "today." If you don't, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn. We were sure about Christ when we first became his people. So let's hold tightly to our faith until the end.
~Hebrews 3:12-14 (CEV, emphasis added)

So while we're in this world, yet not of it, lets look for those we can put some courage into today and also take in what we ourselves need.


Essay said...

Once again, you're saying exactly what I need to hear. How do you do that?!

crosscribe said...

LOL! No idea!