Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
A recent study found that 85% of people hate being encouraged. Wait. No, that's not true. It turns out pretty much everyone likes being encouraged, and we all need people to nudge us in the right direction every now and again. So it makes sense that this is something we do for one another in the church.
In context this verse means something like: Because of the certainty of Jesus' return and because of our solid hope in the salvation that awaits us when He returns, we ought to do two things:
- Give encouragement to one another as a means to urge fellow believers to continue walking rightly with God.
- Promote Christian growth in one another.
But do we actually do this? When was the last time you gave some encouragement to an adult friend at church because of what you saw God doing in their life? One of the best ways to do this is to share with them how something they did or said touched you. Or when was the last time you did something to help develop an adult friend further in their faith? Maybe you invited them to join you in some spiritual discipline or suggested a book to them.
There are hundreds of ways to do this. Only you know what is right for your particular friend or family member in the context of your friendship, but here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Commit to pray for them and ask if there is anything you can pray specifically about.
- Have you read a Scripture, article or book that ministered to you? Suggest it to them.
- Tell them how God has ministered to you or others through them.
- Ask them how they are doing in their personal walk with the Lord right now.
- Ask them to be your prayer partner, Bible study partner, Accountability partner, etc...
- Send a sermon to them either via email, CD or DVD.
- Start theological and biblical discussions with them.
- If you are farther along in the faith than them, offer to disciple or mentor them.
- Write them an encouraging card, text or email.
- Write a song about them and all they mean to you. (Ha! Just kidding! I had to make sure you were still paying attention.)
Look, it isn't that hard to do. I know it can seem unnatural at first, but this is an important role that all of us are called to play in the family of God. Remember, there is an enemy who is actively scheming to deceive your friends and bring them to ruin. Satan wants to destroy and devour them. You can't just sit by and silently hope they survive his attacks. There are people in your church who need you. So suck it up! Get out there and encourage somebody already. Choose at least one person and encourage or build them up today.