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Be An Encouragerby Duane Mabee on May 5, 2022
We cannot be sanctified without learning to care deeply about the emotional, spiritual and physical well-being of other believers. And, if we care deeply about their wellbeing, we will seek to build them up through encouragement.
Hebrews 3:12-13 says we are to “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness,” (NIV). The command to encourage one another is repeated in Hebrews 10:25, and 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11.
To encourage someone is to give them hope, support and confidence. It is to inspire courage in them. It is to breathe life into their soul. Interestingly, the word “encourage” in each passage above comes from the Greek word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit when He said, “I will send you another Helper,” (John 14:16). It appears, then, that our role in encouraging other believers is to come alongside them to strengthen them, help them, comfort them and inspire them to be more like Jesus. We are to build them up.
Paul uses a different word in Ephesian 4:29, but the concept is the same. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear,” (Eph 4:29 ESV). Everything we say should be calculated to build other people up. Our words should strengthen their emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
Unfortunately, one of the key reasons believers absent themselves from churches today is they are tired of being criticized and demeaned by other believers. There have always been those who think their spiritual gift is taking others down a notch or two to “keep them humble”. Now, in the aftermath of COVID, and the recent racial and political strife, people seem compelled to ardently disagree and divide over anything and everything that is different from what they would do or the way they would vote – no matter how trivial. Brothers and sisters, this should not be.
For the body of Christ to grow in emotional, relational and spiritual health, we need a proliferation of encouragers. For you to grow spiritually and become more like Jesus, you need to become an encourager. You cannot be sanctified and be a consistent discourager at the same time. To become an encourager, however, requires humility and a deep interest in what benefits and builds up the believers around you – all of them.
Are you an encourager? Do people feel built up or beat up after having been with you? Do you fill them with hope and breathe life into their soul?