Positively Provoking or Provoking Positively

by APC on November 18, 2015

Have you ever realized that God has a sense of humor? When reading Scripture, you’re bound to encounter God’s comedic genius somewhere. For example, I think God smiting the people of Ashdod with “emrods” was pretty funny (I Samuel 5:6), but others may not agree.

Even outside of His Word, God’s humor is evident all around us—especially in people! Just take a moment to look around you. There’s a lot to laugh about, I promise. All alone? Just look in a mirror—there’s something funny in all of us. We’re all different and that’s a good thing!

Sometimes the traits that are humorous to us (and God) may get on someone else’s nerves. Our laugh, eating habits, nervous twitch, word pronunciation, etc. could be the element that spins someone into a tizzy on the right day or at the right moment.

Children (and unfortunately some adults) like to press each other’s “buttons.” Some people take pride in frustrating others to the point of an emotional outburst. It’s in the childish comments of, “I’m not in your room, I’m on the line,” or, “You’re breathing on my side of the car” that provoke the recipient to do something regrettable. Hurt feelings, stress headaches, or maybe even a blackened eye can be the result of these encounters.

On the whole, provoking someone to do anything isn’t such a great idea. But, Scripture has a different perspective:

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24, KJV).

Right there in Scripture, the writer of Hebrews instructs people to provoke each other. The word provoke in Greek is paraxusmous which means to “stir up” or “instigate.”

As previously described, we’ve labeled provocation or instigation of others to action as a bad idea. But, we find here in Scripture that we can stir up the hearts of others to love and to do good works instead of bad!

Should we taunt others into love and good works? No—just be an example! Scripture tells us to “Let [our] light shine before men, that they may see [our] good works…” (Matthew 5:16, KJV). When we show others how to love, how to worship God, how to tithe and give offerings, how to help the less fortunate, how to sacrifice, how to do anything positive, we help to encourage and stir up the desire in others to do the same thing! We are provoking positivity!

Through our example of living for God, and the love of Jesus emulating through us, we can provoke others to live a life dedicated to Christ, or better yet, start a relationship with Him! Our love and good works will eventually “rub off” on others in a good way. And, the result? Never will we see any hurt feelings, stress headache, or injured body parts. Others will definitely feel the warmth and love of God, the refreshing of the Holy Ghost pouring into their lives, and the miracle of restoration of mind, body, and spirit.

Let’s follow Scripture’s example of positively provoking others to good works instead of the other way around. We have an opportunity to stir up in others what God has stirred up in our own life. Have you thought of provoking someone today?