Friday, December 18, 2009

Encouraging Others

Paul was writing to the Thessalonians of the coming of the Lord in the verse mentioned above. During these last days here on earth, let's continue to encourage others and build each other up.

The Greek word for encourage is parakaleĊ. Let's look at some of the meanings below:

1) to call to one's side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
a) to admonish, exhort
b) to beg, entreat, beseech
1) to strive to appease by entreaty
c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
1) to receive consolation, be comforted
d) to encourage, strengthen
e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
f) to instruct, teach

In what ways do we summon others and teach them, comforting and exhorting them in these days (weeks, months, years) before Christ's return? We need to literally beg others to make Jesus the Lord of their lives if they are not in a saving relationship with Him. Wouldn't it be a shame not to encourage and strengthen others, teaching them about Christ and have them miss out on Heaven because we neglected to share Him with others?

I am very shy when it comes to face-to-face witnessing. I don't have a hard time talking to Christian friends at all about Christ and the matters of my faith; however, set me in front of someone who is in need of salvation and I stumble over my words. I can write to them all the day long about it, but a face-to-face conversation scares me. I have missed opportunities to share Christ with others boldly. I tend more to lead by example and strive to make my walk one that I hope would engage a person to talk with me about what I have that they don't (and that has happened.) I can comfortably share when they open the door to the conversation, but I just can't seem to initiate a conversation about it.

I finally figured out what the reason for this was. When I was a senior in high school we had a Crusade where I was a counselor. Sure enough when the altar call was given on my night, a girl in my class came down. She actually chose not to receive Christ that night! I was very discouraged over it and pursued the matter with her once at school. She told me bascially to shut up about it or I would push her farther away. My grandmother told me not to take it personally, that maybe I had planted a seed and all that. Still, rejecting my Savior hurt and I wonder if I could have done anything differently to change things.

Satan loves to plant seeds of doubt like that. He tells me that I cannot witness effectively and I believe him. I get tongue tied. He tells me that I shouldn't even try and I go years without sharing my faith with others, selfishly keeping Jesus to myself.

And then one day I read this verse. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) Christ tells me through the apostle Paul to encourage others and bring them closer to Him. He tells me that I am able to encourage. It is a verb, implying action!

We are also admonished to build each other up. The Greek word for this phrase is oikodomeĊ. It means:

1) to build a house, erect a building
a) to build (up from the foundation)
b) to restore by building, to rebuild, repair
2) metaph.
a) to found, establish
b) to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness
c) to grow in wisdom and piety

I am now on a mission to promote growth in Christ among those who are saved and those who aren't. I want people to grow in wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness and blessedness. I want to plant seeds in their hearts that cause them to come to a saving knowledge of my precious Savior and Lord. No more keeping Him to myself!

Are you shy about witnessing to others? Find ways to encourage others and build them up before Christ returns. Pray about what may be hindering you from sharing His love, and take action to encourage and build others up in Christ!

Time is drawing short. I believe that we are living in the last days, and I believe God has a harvest out there ready to reap.

But how will they know if we don't encourage them and build them up?

E - Encourage others now; don't delay. "But 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)

N - Never believe the lies of the enemy; believe the promise of Christ. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10 (NIV)

C - Commit your plan to encourage others to God. "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." ~ Psalm 37:5-6 (NIV)

O - Open your heart receive the words God would have you say. "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, " ~ Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

U - Understand that we merely plant the seeds; God causes them to grow. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." ~ 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

R - Read the Word of God daily so you stay prepared to encourage others. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

A - Act wisely when you encourage others to come to know God. "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." ~ Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV)

G - Go to God in prayer in humility in order encourage others to come to know Him. "We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection." ~ 2 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV)

E - Examine your heart and make sure you are walking your talk. "May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame." ~ Psalm 119:80 (NIV)
Note: This post originally ran on 01/28/09.



Saleslady371 said...

Good message for this time of year.

He & Me + 3 said...

I will they know if we do not encourage them to know Christ & build them up. It is so close to the end.

Lea said...

Sometimes I wimp out too and that clock is ticking....
I sometimes worry that I might offend someone... and the funny thing is, it's so much easier to share my faith to people I don't know or at least, NOT my family members. Why is family harder than anybody? It's crazy. He IS coming back and I want us ALL TO BE IN HEAVEN TOGETHER.

Melanie said...

Hi, Laurie Ann! I'm so enjoying hearing from you again and seeing your comments around.

I pray all is well with you and family. Enjoy your Christmas... especially with those sweet grandsons! :)

godsown said...

Came over to say hi....It's a while again.....When i read your blogs you stirr me to God's Word. Thanks
Pray you have an blessed Christmas....


Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. Glad I was able to tickle your funny bone.

I love this post! I evangelize through encouragement as well. I've found it to be much more effective in our culture than the traditional evanglistic approach. It is one of the reasons I love blogging so much.

God Bless You Today,

Sherry said...

Great post! REminds me of the verse in "This Little Light of Mine" - "Hide it under a bushel, NO! I'm going to let is shine." :D

Nishant said...

I will they know if we do not encourage them to know Christ & build them up. It is so close to the end.

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