As I’ve mentioned previously and as is probably obvious from the title bar of my blog, one of my favorite passages of Scripture concerning the assembling of the church is Hebrews 10:24-25:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
I’ve talked about this passage previously in a few different posts (for example, see “But I have perfect attendance“, “Not forsaking, but encouraging“, and “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together“). However, in this post I’d like to consider the verb “consider”.
In context, these two verses comprise the third of three exhortations that help us learn how to respond to Jesus Christ – who both opened a new way for us into the very throne room of God and who is also our high priest. Because of these, we should respond by 1) drawing near to God (Heb. 10:22), 2) holding fast to our hope (Heb. 10:23), and 3) considering one another (Heb. 10:24). Thus, “considering how to stir up one another to love and good works” is a response to work of Jesus Christ – both his death and resurrection, and his continued work as our ever-present and sympathetic high priest. So, according to the author of Hebrews, “considering” is just as much a proper response and an important response to the gospel as is “drawing near” and “holding fast”
But, what does it mean to “consider one another”? The verb “consider” is related to the verb “perceive” or “understand”. An interesting use of this verb “consider” is found earlier in Hebrews:
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. (Hebrews 3:1-2 ESV)
Just as the brothers and sisters were to “consider” Jesus and think seriously about his faithfulness, they were also to “consider” one another and think seriously about how to stir up one another to love and good works. This type of “consideration” calls for careful and intentional thought toward a certain goal. In the case of Hebrews 10:24, the “consideration” should lead toward action which would spur on others to demonstrate love and good works.
This last point is very important. I often find myself thinking about others in order to find fault or mistakes or points of disagreement. Since it is easier to see another’s speck of a problem while overlooking our own massive beam of a problem, we will also be able to find fault in other persons. But, this is not the type of “consideration” in this passage. When we respond properly to work of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves thinking about how to help others grow in maturity and how to help other demonstrate that maturity toward others – that is, through loving acts that demonstrate the love and goodness of God.
This type of “consideration” also assumes that we know enough about one another to know how to spur one another on to love and good works. We are sharing life with one another. We know one another’s strengths and weaknesses. We recognize where God is working in one another’s lives. We are concerned for one another. This seems to go beyond meeting for an hour or so each week. This seems to indicate a much more consistent and intentional relationship. It indicates that we are interrupting our own lives in order to include others.
It seems that “considering” Jesus (super)naturally leads us to “considering” others. Of course, this means that we have to stop “considering” ourselves. When we “consider” Jesus, we also “consider” others. John said that if we do not love others, then we are not loving God (i.e. 1 John 4:20-21). Could it be that if we are not finding ourselves thinking seriously about how to help one another grow in grace and maturity in Jesus Christ, then we are not actually “considering” Jesus?
Are you “considering” others? Now that you’re “considering” others, are you ready to take the next step and help them toward love and good works?