“It’s hard to put into words. I guess he bugs me so much that even the way he twitches his nose provokes me and the way he says ‘Faaaather’ when he prays annoys me. He just gets under my skin period! He always seems to be able to push the right buttons to get me going. I shouldn’t react but I do. I know he’s just trying to provoke me.”
Have you ever consciously provoked someone, irritated them, got them going and then you stand back and watch the fireworks? Has anyone ever done it to you? Some people seem to be very adept at lighting every short fuse they can find and before you know it the room is filled with tension, unease, discomfort and negativity.
The Word of God actually encourages us to provoke one another – so how do you like that??!! Hebrews 10:24 says: “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…”
The Epistle to the Hebrews silences every whisper against the absolute superiority of Christ. He surpassed everything the believers had known in the past and transcended everyone they had revered in history. So they were exhorted to get on with honoring Christ in their lives; to stop wavering and waffling. Focus solely on Christ. Live for Him. Think about the impact you have on each other. Don’t drag each other down with your negativity but consider one another or take careful note of each other’s spiritual well-being. Don’t do things or say things to annoy other christians or to get under their skin or to irritate them or to incite an angry outburst. No! Stimulate love for one another. Incite is the negative aspect of provoking. Excite is the positive side. Excite one another to love more and to do good works.
It doesn’t take many words to stir up a little hatred towards another christian. Just create the spark and it will take off like wildfire. But the exhortation in Hebrews 10:24 is to spark and ignite a fire of love to cause good works to spread like wildfire. Good works are hard to produce mechanically. It can be done but it’s a cold business. But if we choose to love (love is an act of the will), the inner burning of love will result in an outward fire of good works. Good works spring out of loving hearts. Love is the root. Good works are the fruit. No good works – perhaps something is missing at the root.
“Lord I confess that I have been harboring negative and bitter thoughts towards (be specific). Lord help me today by my attitude and behaviour to excite others to love more and show more goodness.”