ARE YOU A PROVOKER?
In a court of law for example if a person has been charged with say G.B.H. (Grievious Bodily Harm) he will often say he was “PROVOKED” as the other person threw the first punch. So in most of our minds the word PROVOKED” has very much a negative connotation, but my Dictionary tells me it has a much broader interpretation. Meaning CALLING FORTH, or ENQUIRY, which can be very positive. The Bible uses the word PROVOKE numerous times and I would like us to look at a couple of these verses.
In Hebrews 10:24 KJV we read And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: In my Discipling/Mentoring ministry I came to see, that simply teaching on a particular aspect of truth was not sufficient and that in either a group or one on one situation to keep on asking questions like “Are you doing it?” “Is it working?” and keep on asking until that truth BECAME A LIFESTYLE. That is why my definition of Discipleship/Mentoring is WALKING WITH A PERSON FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES UNTIL THE TRUTH IS WORKING IN THEIR LIFE.
So in Heb. 10:24 we see the positive use of the word PROVOKE, and I would suggest that every time they read this letter, the Hebrew Believers were PROVOKED to deliberately and practically show forth the Agape love of God that was poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit when they were born again, both to their Jewish friends and family but also to the Gentiles around them, and they would think about ways to show “good works” to people. My wife has been quite sick this week with a nasty cold, I requested prayer for her at church on Sunday morning, that afternoon, we received a phone call saying the person would be calling with soup for us. I came home late Monday morning after a Men’s meeting, and found further meals had been dropped off.
In Rom. 11:11 NKJV we read an exciting verse about the Jews, Paul says I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles”
What a challenge this is to Believers, that we so live and walk in the Spirit and so show forth the life of Christ in us, that people truly see Jesus in us, we must learn we are being looked at and “read” like a letter, and that our lifestyle can PROVOKE people to consider just like the Jews did as we read in Rom.11:11. The MESSAGE expresses it so well. The next question is, “Are they down for the count? Are they out of this for good?” And the answer is a clear-cut no. Ironically when they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in. But the next thing you know, the Jews were starting to wonder if perhaps they had walked out on a good thing.
So here are two questions for you.
- Am I a PROVOKER, that by my words, actions and lifestyle positively challenge people?
- Do I have PROVOKER in my life? that continually challenges me to press in and on to be the person God wants me to be.
May the Lord help us to pro-actively be a PROVOKER AMEN.