By Janet L. W. Smith
I Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.
Believing the Truth about God and our Identity in Him, ENCOURAGEMENT means to:
â€¢ give support, confidence, or hope to someone
â€¢ give support and advice to someone so that they will do or continue to do something
â€¢ help or stimulate an activity, state, or view to develop
In walking out the Truth of our Identity, all Believers in Jesus Christ have an ASSIGNMENT which means we have:
â€¢ a task or piece of work assigned as part of our job or course of study
â€¢ the task or post to which we have been appointed
We are given at least THREE TOOLS OF ENCOURAGEMENT to stay the course of our Assignment
a. Obtained from God in our daily pursuit of knowing Him by reading His word.
i. Romans 15:4-5: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had”
a. Received from Jesus, through the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10) and often delivered to us through His people in the form and gift of prophecy.
i. I Corinthians 14:3: but everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
ii. I Timothy 1:18-19: …I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.
iii. I Timothy 4:14-16: Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
iv. I Thessalonians 5:19-20: Do not put out the Spiritâ€™s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. (contempt: the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn.)
3. FELLOWSHIP-can’t have fellowship without:
â€¢ Trusted Leadership
a. In the company of the body of Jesus Christ, and submitted to His leadership through the love and fellowship of that body, we make ourselves open and available to encouragement. The fellowship we don’t give is the fellowship we don’t get.
i. Hebrews 10:23-24: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
ii. I Peter 4:7-11: The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength, which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
iii. I John 1:7-9: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
iv. James 5:14-16: Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
v. I Thessalonians 5:12: But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
HUMILITY accepts God’s provision for encouragement by searching for, submitting to, and standing in the promises, prophecies, and fellowship of the body of Jesus Christ. If you can’t trust the leadership and the members of the body you are in, then ask God to provide a body where you can. He is faithful to give you a body of believers with whom you can be open and authentic.
PRIDE rejects God’s provision for encouragement by indulging in anger (“I don’t need this hardship or this person or these people in my life”), self-justifies holding on to offense and anger (“I can’t trust God with this pain”), and puts down (demeans/criticizes) self and/or others as a means of justifying rejection and isolation from fellowship (“no one gets me”).
NOTE: When the assignment feels overwhelming and God has not said that our assignment is completed, it will help to shift our focus from being “about me and my needs” to being “about Him” and saying to our “me, me, me” needs, “I (me, me, me) am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I (me, me, me) who live, but Christ in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. We can say with all confidence, “Until this assignment is complete, I can trust God with my heart and to give me strength to endure.”
Jonah 4:19-22: Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he (Jonah) said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” But the LORD said, â€œYou have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their leftâ€”and much livestock?â€
Â© December 4, 2011