Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

Spur One Another on to Love and Good Deeds

by Dick Wulf | Course Two

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God has many good things He wants done 365 days a year by His love flowing through you and me. Not just the simple things that come our way a few days of the year, but things He wants done that require effort on our part to discover them. This is what Christians who treasure God will do.

God tells us in the Bible to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24 says,
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Spurring one another on to love and good deeds means motivating Christians to put the desires of God before all else. In essence, we are to spur one another on to live the Great Commandment, which, as recorded in Mark 12:28-30 is to: “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”.

How does spurring one another on to love and good deeds prepare us for heaven? It prepares us to be able to be thrilled for God all the while we will be in heaven.

This is no small thing! Don’t just think about yourself and what “you” will get in heaven. In heaven it will be all about God. No one will be concerned for themselves more than they will be concerned for God and His glory.

Here’s a story I wrote that you will see online if you read more about this Together by clicking through to it after listening. The story takes place in heaven.

A new bridge over a wide, clear, and wonderful river has been built in heaven. Some of us are thrilled that they can more easily cross the river. Others of us focus excitement on the beauty of the bridge. But a few of us who cared in such a way before death are overwhelmed with joy that God got the bridge He wanted.

Ease of travel and appreciation of beauty is exciting to us, but God’s pleasure is our greatest pleasure. We explain this to the others and they have intellectual assent, but they don’t quite feel joy in God’s being pleased like we do. It seems that such a sense of joy for God could only be developed to a fine degree against the sin that existed before our deaths.

To push other Christians to love and good deeds requires that our spirits grow in natural, spontaneous elevation of God and desire that He receive what He wants and deserves. Psalm 37:4 guides us in this process: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The secret is that God cannot give us desires that are not His desires, so delighting in Him creates His desires in our hearts.

God has created each of us to do good works. Ephesians 2:10, which I chose to be my life verse over 40 years ago, says: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Those who truly desire God to get the good deeds from His people He has prepared for them to do will spur one another on to love and good deeds. When they get to heaven, their spirits will have grown to more fully derive joy in seeing that God gets what He wants there in His kingdom, in His heaven.

Caring more deeply about what God wants is smart investment for heavenly benefits. If we do not care much that God gets what He wants from His people, our joy in heaven will come primarily from what is only there for our enjoyment. But, if we really value God being honored by His people through their love and good deeds, and we spur them on to such, our joy in heaven can be doubled. To the joy we have in what we receive will be added the joy in what God receives.

There is no end to the good that God wants done in this sin-contaminated and hurtful world. Our self-centered wills need consistent pushing toward love and good deeds. We can use one another’s help to make sure that we put God’s agenda before our own, which will result in loving good deeds when we have opportunities.

Unfortunately, we often love ourselves more than God and do not want to stick our necks out to motivate another Christian to do something for God that they may not want to do. And, we love other Christians more than we do God when we do not want to make them uncomfortable for this reason. Thus, we put God’s agenda in the world on the back burner and at the same time hinder the other Christian’s development into all that God wants him or her to be. The result for the person who could have been spurred on is that he or she will miss some quality of life for all eternity in heaven, especially in their relationship with God.

This task of prodding one another does not need to be done overnight. The length of time required and the depth of committed relationship to overcome resistance requires “spurring on to love and good deeds” to be done by trusted friends and family. Patience will likely be necessary. But, once accomplished, the one spurred on will emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon and not likely change back. Spurring another Christian in our Christian Inner Circle on to love and good deeds can be quite rewarding. More importantly, it puts God in first place, both in our lives because we have taken the risk of prodding and in the other who begins to prioritize what God is doing.

Spurring on may need to begin by explaining God’s sovereign nature and what He is doing in our sinful world. Next might be to highlight the other Christian’s special talents and opportunities to be a part of the work of God. Follow that with the question whether or not he or she can see himself or herself taking part in the work of God.

Note that we are to prod those in our Christian Inner Circles first to love. This command is not to be fulfilled by a sense of duty. That is why Scripture says, “love and good deeds”. We are to spur one another on to love God out of thankfulness for what He has done for us in and through Jesus Christ. We are to do the good deeds God wants done out of our love for God and those we are helping.

People who are not doing much for the Lord in the way of love and good deeds will be noticed in their close Christian friendships, families, and marriages. Unlike Bible studies, where a person can cover up non-involvement, people will become known in the closeness of their Christian Inner Circle. For example, those who rarely sacrifice for someone else’s need will become obvious. Christian friends and family members who really care are the best ones to teach such people to be more thankful for Christ’s death on the cross and then spur them on toward love and good deeds.

Prayer is important in this responsibility to get people into action. We want to ask the Holy Spirit to help those in our Christian Inner Circles grow spiritually, appreciate and love God sufficiently to do good deeds, and recognize how they can be of real help to others.

We will grow in our love for God and concern for His joy by prodding those in our Christian Inner Circles to love more deeply and do a higher percentage of the jobs God has for them. If we spur on one another out of increasing love for God and what He wants, we will go to heaven with a greater ability to find joy in God getting what He desires. It will be strong because it was developed within the competition of a sinful culture with different desires and values.

If we are honest, most of us do not look out for God. Perhaps we delegate teaching what God wants to sermons and Bible studies. But, teaching is not “spurring”. Spurring is prodding gently and lovingly over time until those in our Christian Inner Circles love God more and respond to His call on their lives to do good deeds which He has set before them.

It is one thing to desire God and another to desire “for” God. If we are in love with our wife or husband, it is one thing to desire them and quite another for us to desire for them to get their heart’s desires. If we love our children, it is one thing to desire to be with them and another to desire that their lives be fulfilled with the dreams God has for them.

Spurring one another on to great love and more good deeds as God desires means that we must care more and more for what God wants. Do this more and more to increase your spirit with regard to God. He must become more important. Want for the King what the King wants.
Imagine that someone’s birthday is coming and a gift will be given. What happens to a Christian’s spirit who spends deep thought about what gift the other would really like? What does not happen inside the person who just goes out and gets any gift that will do?

The thoughtful gift-giver has intense desire for the happiness of the one receiving the gift. To buy a gift that will communicate great worth to the birthday person, it will be necessary to understand who that other person is, what he or she values, and how the gift should be designed. To find these things out, questions will have to be asked, just as we would need to ask God what He wants.

The Christian who wants to see God get from a Christian friend or family member the good works for which he or she is designed, equipped, and for whom the tasks have been set aside is the one who will grow in valuing God Himself. To do this is like the thoughtful gift-giver. We all can develop more desire for God to be pleased. If sincere, that will mean we will spur other Christians on to love and good deeds.

The casual gift-giver gives an easy gift and might only care that he or she has done what is expected. Not really considering what another really wants, the casual gift-giver actually lessens the value of the other person by not taking him or her more seriously. This is like a Christian who gives the minimum to God.

So, when I see that a friend needs to build up the self-esteem of his wife, I want to put some deep thought into it. I first pray and ask God if He wants my friend to build his wife’s sense of worth. But, if the Bible makes it clear that God wants it, I don’t wait to hear something in my mind. I have already heard from God on the issue. Next, I pray to see clearly what God wants me to prod in my friend. How general or specific am I to be about how my friend should help his wife?

We should want to prepare to be more and more thrilled for God. We naturally think how thrilled we will be in heaven. But, here in the midst of sin we can grow in wanting God to be thrilled. If so, we will spur one another on to love God and others more and do loving good deeds just for God’s sake.

We will enter heaven with a heart that delights in what pleases God on a continuum of “sort of” to “greatly”. True, we will be delighted with what delights us, but some of us will have increased capacity for joy with God being delighted.

We hopefully have had this experience when we have given a child a Christmas present that they truly enjoyed. Our joy was in their joy, not in our joy of giving. All we wanted was for the child to be excited and extremely happy. But, in some Christmas gift exchanges there are people locked out from such joy by some emotional damage the devil has done them. They look on, but it is clear that inside they are not getting the same joy in seeing the joy in a child who is bright- eyed with excitement. In fact, we would notice a continuum of empathy with the child’s joy across the spectrum of adults present. Similarly, in heaven we will have different capacities to enjoy God experiencing joy. This is what we might call different sized hearts for God.

How much do we appreciate someone who is joyful for us when we get what we want? Don’t we like most to be around those who want us to succeed, who are not resentful of our accomplishments, who are not competitive and get in the way of what we want?
Why would God be any different?

It just makes sense that God in some way fellowships more with those who are concerned with His concerns. And, if we are so concerned, then we want to get others to be concerned and might need to spur them on to love and good deeds.

When I was Program Director of a large community mental health center running 26 offices in three counties, I knew that I wanted most to be around those who were similarly concerned that we provide the best possible mental health care for clients. In fact, I asked for the resignation or fired any who were not so focused on the mission of our agency.

Certainly, God fellowships more with those who align with His purposes through more than mere intellectual agreement. And, it is likely that He fellowships even more with those who prod others to live for His pleasure and purposes.

Just imagine how this might work out in heaven. All of us will be close to God, and He to us. But wouldn’t we want Him to be more intensely present with us because we so much wanted Him to get what He wanted, so much so that we often spurred others on to more love and more good deeds?

Let’s grow our hearts for God’s joy now. Let’s care more for what God wants and then spur Christians on to give Him what His heart desires. Let’s grasp how more wonderful it will be in heaven if we can focus more on God’s pleasure than our own.

Reflection & Group Tools

Motivate one another to do much good for Jesus Christ. Identify what needs to be done and get one another going.

Matt 25:31-46; Gal 6:10; 1 Tim 6:17-19; Heb 10:24; James 4:17

Prayer to Embrace this Together

Dear Lord Who stands against all evil and directs Your people to good works, Help me to spur on all those in my Christian Inner Circle to get into the business of spurring on to greater love and good works those Christians in their own Christian Inner Circles. May this go on and on like a great waterfall delivering moisture to those you love and defeat Satan’s drought. May this become like a snowball rolling downhill until an avalanche of good in the name of the One and Only God transforms the world.
I and those in my Christian Inner Circle will need Your help to grow our spirits to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Help us to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit for all of us to give You more glory in the way we motivate one another to identify what needs to be done for Jesus and God’s glory and actually do those things.
Please help us all to become more like Jesus and push one another to do good things out of love. Jesus did not seem to mince words, so empower us to be bold in spurring one another on to love and good deeds.
May our lives worship You by being more faithful to Your design of us in creating us in Christ Jesus to
be your handiwork to do good works, which You prepared in advance for us to do. Let us convict those in our Christian Inner Circles to do good works You have assigned them, and reflect back to You, God the Holy Spirit, Your more perfect ministry of directing Christians to do what pleases God the Father and God the Son.
Since there is no end to the good God wants done in this sin-contaminated and hurtful world, make us strong in Your power to do those things that need to be done to unravel the devil’s evil. Point us to some problems and help us work together to lovingly get involved to solve and change Satan’s evil into good.
By doing good works now to counteract evil that dishonors You, help us all to prepare to be thrilled for You in heaven where You are first priority and there is nothing evil that needs good works. Also, to be ready to do good works in heaven that are not in response to sin, push us to push one another to do the more difficult good works now where evil has penetrated so many places and hurt so many people. Then, in heaven, we will be able to more naturally spur one another on to love and good works.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Your Spirit is most easily transformed in community. The tools below can facilitate your growth as you gather together with those you are in close Christian relationship with.

These are some of the possible benefits in heaven we will be seeking today by opening our minds to the Holy Spirit regarding spurring one another on to love and good deeds.
We will more naturally put the desires of God before all else and fit into the way of heaven where He will be 100% of our heart’s desire.

We will have increased capacity for joy with God’s being delighted. We will experience more thrill for God getting what He wants in heaven.

Standing up for God in the difficult task of getting Christians more involved in costly love and good deeds will endear us with God and intensify our relationship with Him.

Sanctification Booster #1:

How can Christians put God and what He wants done first? How can Christians increase their awareness with more than “spare time focus” on what love and good deeds God wants them to do?

Sanctification Booster #2:

What “good things” might Christians do too much that prevents them from having time for what other Christians spur them on to do in the way of love and good deeds? (Examples: giving their kids too many fun opportunities or spending too much time watching television.)

Sanctification Booster #3:

It often seems too intrusive to spur another Christian on to love and good deeds, but what will they miss if we do not push less active Christians to love more and do more good deeds?