“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
This year, like those gone before, will bring into our lives both trials and triumphs. It will possibly feel to some that the triumphs are few and the trials are menacingly many. And yet - we are encouraged by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians ‘not to loose heart’ (2 Cor. 4:1,16). This has the idea of giving up, or allowing fear to bring about a loss of courage. This is a terrible plight for the believer to be ensnared in. But we are all so vulnerable to this condition. And it comes upon us so quickly and usually when facing some temptation or trial in life. So, we need to ask, “what is my duty or responsibility in encouraging other believers not to loose heart - and how do I do that?”
We need to know that bringing encouragement as cited in the text above is a whole lot more than being friendly and showing some emotional affection - unbelievers can do that!
Encouragement ‘not to loose heart’ is all about citing the truth of God in order to bring the struggling person to see their situation from God’s perspective. At times this may even feel like God’s truth is harsh, too confronting and not wanting to be heard. But true spiritual encouragement that builds another up must be more than opinions, ideas, and emotional closeness - it must be solidly based on the promises of Scripture. I like how Richard Owen Roberts puts it: “Spiritual” encouragement, therefore, will be consistent, traceable back to the Bible and rooted in biblical principle. (Grace Quotes)
So, what is your ministry for this year? If we are obedient, it will certainly involve ‘encouragement’ among the saints!