08 April 2011


Webster defines the word “encourage”: “to give courage, hope, or confidence to; embolden, hearten. To give support to; be favorable to; foster help.” In the epistles to the church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul used the word “encourage” several times: “Therefore, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to remain alone in Athens and send Timothy, our brother who works with us for God in the gospel of the Messiah, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions, for which you are aware that we were destined” (1 Thess. 3:2, NIV). “Therefore encourage one another with these words” (4:18, ESV). ‘Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (5:11, ESV). “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (5:18, ESV). “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thess. 2:16, 17, NIV).
There are Christian men and women who have the God given talent to speak words of kindness and encouragement to their brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Paul, in his epistle to church in Rome, exhorted those members to use that gift: “if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:8, NIV). We need more Christians like Barnabas whose name means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). To encourage is to “exhort”, that is, to build up and strengthen one another in the most holy faith. In Hebrews 3:13 we are admonished to encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13, NIV).

One of the reasons for us to encourage (exhort) one another is because Satan has a camouflaged weapon that really takes a toll on weary Christians and that is discouragement. If he cannot win you over through the lust of the flesh, the lust the eyes and the pride of life, he often uses this weapon to get members to give up the Lord and quit the church. Here are words of inspiration that are found in Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” One of the primary reasons for our worship assemblies is to exhort (encourage) one another. “(N)ot neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, ESV). And we often do this very thing through our singing. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). The following hymn, written by Frank M. Davis in 1892, is one that we have often sung as a source of encouragement. (You can click HERE to find out more about this Christian song writer.)

“Live for Jesus, O my brother, His disciple ever be; Render not to any other, What alone the Lord’s should be Live for Jesus, wandering sinner, Under Satan serve no more; Of the prize a winner Thou may’st be, when life is o’er. Live for Jesus in life’s morning; At the noontide hour be His, And at eve, when day is turning, And inherit endless bliss. Live for Jesus, live for Jesus, Give Him all thou hast to give; On the cross the world’s Redeemer Gave His life that thou mightst live.”

* * * * * * * *

No comments: