by Tammy Phillips
October 16, 2021
“And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25 CSB)
My husband has always worked out like a fanatic because he wanted to eat whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Earlier this year, he decided to drink more water and really pay attention to what he was putting into his body. He has transformed his body at 51 and lost close to 51.
He works out at Orange theory at least four to five days a week. The work out is in circuits of rowing, cardio, and strength training. Trainees wear monitors that record and display real time results on screens in front of all. The trainers push trainees through resting, easy, challenging, uncomfortable and All Out’s during the workout session. The coaches instruct when to push harder and when to pull back for recovery. The goal is to spend 12 minutes or more with an elevated heart rate in “The Orange Zone” which boosts metabolism, burns fat, and burns more calories.
Besides my husband being in great shape, he also is very competitive. Imagine a muscular, military, twenty-ish young man coming to work out beside him. I can hear Kris’ thoughts, “it is on.” After the workout was complete, the “spent, younger man told my husband, “thanks for pushing me.” My husband replied, “It does not get easier. It gets better.”
We often think that when we reach a goal, we win the prize, and the hard work is over. Wrong! There will always be another hard road in front of us, another goal to achieve or another mountain to climb. However, there will also be the choice of the easy road, too. The Word states:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide [is] the gate and broad [is] the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 “Because narrow [is] the gate and difficult [is] the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV)
Think of it like this. Nobody starts out running marathons. A runner starts training with the first mile and that becomes easy. The runner can keep running the easy mile or challenge himself to run a 5k or 3.1 miles After the 5k, he may keep running 5k’s or decide to compete in a 10K (6.2 miles). The next step would be to run a half marathon or 13.11 miles and then finally, a marathon or 26.3 miles. The competition does not end there is always a harder race or an attempt for a personal best time. Get the picture? There is always a more challenging race to run, if we accept the challenge, keep growing and racing.
Our focus scripture today instructs us to watch out for each other and to provoke each other to love and good works. To provoke is the Greek word, paroxysmos, that means: to make sharp; to stimulate; to spur on; to urge on; to stir up; to sharpen alongside. The Greek word for encourage is parakaleō and it means to call near; address; implore; exhort; strengthen by consolation; comfort; to call to one’s side.
We all need people in our lives who tell us the truth and provoke us by saying: “It does not get easier. It gets better.” -Kris Phillips. We need people in our lives who encourage us, “We are to take the obstructive path!” -Kristi Stephens. We need Jesus to tell us to take the narrow gate.
Each difficult road we take leads us higher and higher and makes us better and better. We need each other to help us keep on keeping one.
I enCOURAGE you to be that someone. Watch out for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Choose to sharpen and encourage them. Get together. Meet together. We all need each other. We cannot be our best, nor successful in our journey…alone. Hebrews 10:25 tells us we were meant to do life together. As Jesus’ return draws nearer, we are to encourage each other “ALL THE MORE.” Things are going to get tougher. Trials will get harder. We should decide to promote each other to endurance, perseverance, and diligence. It’s what the word says to do.