Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.——-Acts 11:23
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.——-1 Thessalonians 5:11
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.——-Hebrews 10:23-25
As believers in Jesus, we need one another. We need one another to help remind us of the hope we have in God. We need each other to hold us accountable and walking the straight path. With how quickly the world is going crazy and churches continuing to drift further and further from the Truth, it is even more important to surround ourselves with those grounded in the Word and seeking to live out true faith.
Many believe encouragement is nothing more than inspiration. We see this not only in our normal interactions with people, but also from many pulpits. Encouragement ends up often being synonymous with tolerance. If people have good self-esteem and feel good about their lives, we are told that is encouragement. But is that really what we see in the Bible??
With lives being so broken, what I hear over and over again is that the Church must be a place that people can come find a break from those problems. So it is said not to weigh people down with such issues of sin, repentance, and obedience, but simply forgiveness and grace. But I must heartily disagree. Lives can be broken, messed up, and even desperate, but unless we understand our sin before a holy God, we will never really know our true need for Jesus or even begin to understand His sacrifice on the cross.
What we see in Scripture is not this lighthearted feel good message of encouragement, but a plea to remain faithful and grounded in the Truth no matter if anyone else does the same. Encouragement doesn’t just seek to “inspire”, but looks out for those that are getting swept away into unbiblical things. Encouragement says that, “I love you so much that I desire to see you remain faithful to the Lord and continue to become even more like Christ”.
In Hebrews 10, it says to encourage one another all the more as we see the Day approaching. In other words, we see the importance of how much we need other believers because it is really easy to casually drift away from the Lord by making seemingly small compromises along the way. One day leads to one week leads to one month and one year and so on. We must realize the seriousness that we need to continue to grow in our faith, otherwise we might find ourselves falling away from the faith before Jesus returns.
So what must we learn from all this?? Simply, encouragement is a serious matter. A question we might ask ourselves is if we are really committed to the spiritual growth of others believers in our family, our churches, and so on?? If so, how am I encouraging them in their walk with the Lord?? Do I ask other believers how they are doing spiritually or is there too much going on in my own world to be concerned what is going on in their’s??
I know I am quite convicted of this in my own life. I look around and see how much better I can do to be encouraging other believers as they continue to follow the Lord. You would think pastors would be good at encouragement, but pastors are no different than anyone else; we also need to be growing to become more like Christ and need other believers just as much as the next guy.
It isn’t natural for any of us to want to invest spiritually in one another. Especially when true encouragement might mean needing to be bold, working through issues hindering us from following Jesus fully, or even rebuking another believer for embracing wrong belief or sin. But in the end, encouragement shows true love for other believers in showing how much we care by taking a serious interest in each other walking in the Truth.
Meeting together as a church is a critical element of allowing for mutual encouragement. It gives us the opportunity to share our lives and struggles as we each look to grow in knowing what it means to believe and live in obedience to Jesus. But encouragement can’t happen only at our corporate gatherings. We must also look to spend time together outside of our formal church gatherings in order to further foster these relationships through things like meals together, emails, text messages, phone calls, etc. That is why Scripture is clear how important it is for us to meet together to encourage one another when it says that we must not “neglect meeting with one another”. (Hebrews 10:25) (Paraphrase Mine)
Let us strive to commit all the more to encouraging one another to remain faithful to the Truth. We need each other to help remind us of the great hope we have in Jesus and help us grow in greater faith and obedience to Him.