Ever since the satanic “stirrer” in the Garden of Eden, mankind has perpetuated the skill of stirring each other up. As children, through peer-pressure, we stirred each other up to mischief; by teasing we stirred each other up to anger. As we matured in physical growth, we maintained the same “stirring” immaturity, only now we stir each other up to envy with our earthly possessions, to discontentment with our political grumblings, to anger with our selfish opinions, and to self-entitlement with our constitutional rights—and I’m sure we can add some more expressions in which we daily stir each other up. We use our words to stir each other up. Sometimes we shout those words, other times we mumble them under our breath; we stir each other up through our words typed out on tiny screens for community social media groups and we stir each other up through our words typed out publicly to the world-wide-web of blogs and comments-sections. As James, the brother of our Lord, testified, our tongue is a restless evil (James 3:8); a small fire that boasts great things (James 3:5). We are stirrers, in a very bad way, through the words we employ each day.
There was once a man who had learned to turn the vice of “stirring” into a wonderful virtue. He was living among folk who had conflicting traditions and opinions on various religious matters. Many of them were “stirrers”, deliberately promoting their own interpretations and customs, causing confusion among many, but promoting confidence in themselves. This man, a particularly gifted man in their religion, knew better than all of them combined. Longing for the traditional “stirrers” to use their unfortunate skill for something better, he penned a series of stirring enticements for them to practise on one another. If practised, these stirring enticements would refocus all of them on what is of first importance and would promote unity in truth and unity in love. They would still be stirrers, but stirrers of what is good. This man’s name was never recorded for us, but his stirring enticements to those folk have been recorded in God’s Word for all time.
His first stirring enticement was a call for them to unite in their sincerity of faith. Many of the stirrers were deeply involved in religion, but had never come to God for spiritual cleansing. Their assurance of salvation was based on their religious traditions instead of on the purity of their souls. This man therefore stirred them up, first of all, to draw near to God with a true heart longing for true cleansing.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10:19-22 (ESV)
If each would personally submit to God for cleansing through Jesus Christ, then the second stirring enticement awaited them. As much as sincerity of true faith would have upset their legacy of religious traditions and customs, the next stirring enticement would ground them firmly on truth—more firmly than their traditions could ever have done. This man understood how God worked, and after stirring those folk to place their faith in the work of Jesus, he then also stirred them up to hold firm to Truth that is based on One who is uncompromisingly true.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.Hebrews 10:23 (ESV)
Lastly, and finally engaging the skill of stirring of those folk, this man added a third stirring enticement. With a third “let us” statement, this man stirred up those folk to themselves become better stirrers. Instead of using their stirring abilities to stir themselves up to pride and to stir others up to anger, and jealousy, and confusion, this man enticed them to stir one another up to love; he enticed them to give some creative thought on how do more good to one another.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
With these three “let us” statements, God was enticed the people to 1) place their faith in Jesus, 2) make God’s Word their confession, and 3) love each other and do good. These verses provoke us to do something. They entice us away from the way we normally would do something. They agitate our complacency. They instil in us a sense of strong conviction, of personal involvement, and of emotional zeal. Like a revolutionary movement, they stir each one of us up to become stirrers ourselves.
Unlike your community WhatsApp groups and global Facebook groups, unlike the local newspaper and viral videos, unlike your sin-prone heart and worldly acquaintances, each one of us as Christians need to abstain from the words commonly available that stir others up to resentment, hatred, complaining, and discontentment. Instead, “let us” be better stirrers. Let us stir others up to appeal to God for a clean conscience; let us stir one another up to hold fast to truth about God; let us stir one another up to show love and goodness to everyone.
Let us be Christian stirrers.