Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Thessaloniki to help them walk out their faith. These words were part of that letter, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
Apparently, this group of Jesus-followers had been encouraging one another in their faith, but Paul wanted to be sure that continued, even ramped up. They were, after all, living in a time of persecution. Some would die for their faith in Jesus. Encouragement was crucial.
We tend to think encouragement is agreement or compliments. Paul told these folks (and us) to admonish, exhort, strengthen, and build one another up.
Admonish means to reprimand and advise. As in, to call someone out for a behavior or wrong thinking. Oh. My. That’s something we don’t like doing, right? I mean, how many of us have complimented someone when they ask, “What do you think of my new __?” We see it isn’t complementary at all to them, yet we agree that it’s just right. Okay, you can put your hands down.
We are not doing other believers any favors by withholding admonishment. We must be careful, however, because we can take that to an extreme where all we mete out is reprimand and criticism. It’s a heady elixir, to be able to do that.
We’re to exhort other believers, calling out the good behaviors and right thinking. To tell someone you see Jesus in them is encouragement of the highest order. We church folk, however, have a tendency to miss the good things and focus on the bad. Must be our humanness.
When a builder works to strengthen a floor that is sagging, there is some tearing out and some adding-to that must be done. Same with us. The parts that aren’t good for us need to be removed and the Truth needs to be added.
We like to think that God will just take care of that for us, but what we don’t like to think is that He would bring along His tool in the form of another believer. We fall back to our childhood, “You’re not the boss of me!”
So, today’s challenge is two-sided: Give and Receive.
Talk to those believers closest to you. Give them permission to admonish, exhort, strengthen, and build you up. Ask for permission to do the same. Then get to work. Allow the Spirit to guide you in both.
Look for the good and mention it—in passing is great, “Saw you do this, it was a beautiful thing” then move on. Little “bricks” like this build up over time.
And when those believers advise you that they see something ungodly in you, receive it, consider it God’s gift, and make the changes necessary to move back into alignment with Him.
Then, as you and these who are working with you grow, add in other believers and continue to grow together.
Let’s get to work encouraging one another today, helping one another grow into a mirror image of the Savior.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
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Faye Bryant is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals escape the lies of the enemy, live into God’s truth, and build a better life by first feeling, dealing, and healing their way through a stuck future or an abused past, toward a deeper path of purpose, and into the unhackable life of their chosen legacy. Hers is a story of resurrection: from death to life!