Encourage - What We Build In
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the Bible calls for us to encourage and build one another up. "Build up" is about supporting someone. It's about where you put them and who you put around them. Encourage is about what we "build in" to one another.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
Paul issues these commands in the context of living in the last days. These are dangerous, distracting, and discouraging times. The command to "encourage" assumes that along the way, we lose courage. Our passion begins to wane. Our commitment falters. Our faith can be fickle.
We are on somewhere on the scale between excitement and exhaustion. God's people usually start with great excitement but find that serving the Lord is exhausting.
Pastor Rick Warren lists four common causes of discouragement.
- Fatigue - While a tired body can weaken your immune system and make you susceptible to infection, it can also make your mind and heart susceptible to discouragement.
- Frustration - Maybe you feel overwhelmed with so much to do, or maybe it's that things are not going the way you need them to go. The more you work, the more things seem to work against you.
- Failure - You tried so hard and envisioned it going so well, but it all fell apart. I don't know anyone who doesn't take failure personally.
- Fear - Fear is the secondary result of a failure. You are afraid to try because you are afraid to fail. It's easier to avoid criticism than to take a risk.
No matter how spiritually strong you think you are, how committed you've been, or how long you've been walking in faith, face this reality. We all get discouraged.
"Encourage one another" is written in the present active tense. It means that we all need encouragement and to be encouragers.
Paul encouraged his readers with the Word of God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10, he encouraged them by reminding them of:
- When they were - We are living in the last days. The deceiver is at work, life isn't fair, and it won't be easy. Have realistic expectations. None of this should be surprising to us. The Bible told us there would be days like this.
- Who they were - We are children of light. Jesus Christ has saved us. We are not lazy or drunk on the world.
- What they have - God has given us the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation. Put them on. Guard your heart and mind with the truth of God's Word. Read it and apply it.
The Bible commands us to encourage one another because we are prone to discouragement. The Holy Spirit in us won't leave us, but we do lose courage. Our passion wanes. Our faith flounders. We need people in our lives who will take the Word of God and help replenish lost courage. It also reminds us to do the same for others. Encourage one another.
Bible Study and Challenge
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.
- Make a list of characteristics of the "last days."
- List the commands in the passage. How are you going to obey them?
- How does this passage challenge you to pray today?
Take a few verses from this passage and share them with a fellow believer as a word of encouragement.