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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 11/13/19

Urged to Encourage

The Mutual Blessing: Be Encouraging Be Encouraged

STORY: A Church Full of Encouragers

Church leaders have been in the news a lot lately. I’m not here to discuss controversial sides of issues. But I do believe every person in the church is in community to bring glory to God and bring good to others. The role of encouragement isn’t limited to a certain gender, only to church leaders, or to any other subcategory. Being encouraging and being encouraged is the blessing of every Christ-follower.

Susan K. Beatty says, “I like to think of encouragement as lending your courage to someone in need of it—even when you don't feel yourself very courageous. God will supply all your needs.”

STUDY: The Role of Encouragement

"A church leader is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong." (Titus 1:7-9 NLT)

  • This passage is talking about church leaders in particular, but we are all called to be an example to the believers (and a witness to unbelievers). What are some ways listed in this verse that we can live an unblemished life?
  • When a minister lives in this way, then he is able to encourage others. I wonder if sometimes the reason we struggle with encouraging others could be because we’re not living pure lives? What flows out comes from inside us. If the flow is impeded, we need to look inward.
  • Once our hearts are in the right place and our actions are sacrificial, then how are some ways we can encourage others, according to that last sentence?
  • Not all of us are called to teach, but all of us can teach in some way because our lives teach lessons and others are paying attention.
  • When others oppose wholesome teaching, how can you show them they are wrong without messing up your relationship with them? Who is in the best position to teach them God’s ways?

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 NLT)

  • Urging is another form of exhortation. How do you think it differs from encouragement? How do you know when to urge and when to encourage?
  • What did Paul urge believers to do in this passage? Why do you think he states he’s urging them in his capacity as a representative of the Lord Jesus? Does that change how others might receive his instruction?
  • We see here that there’s a difference between being taught and living out what we’ve been taught. It pleases God when we live it out. Do you think this is why Paul is urging them so vehemently, because it will bless the Father?

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. (1 Timothy 2:1 NLT)

  • Paul encouraged Timothy to pray for all people. We can take on that same mission in life, to pray for everyone.
  • What does the act of prayer include, found in that second sentence?
  • What does it mean to intercede?
  • Is it ever hard to thank God for some people? What happens when you ask God to help you be thankful for them? What changes?

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say. (Titus 2:11-15 NLT)

  • Paul told Titus he had the authority to speak truth to believers and to not let them ignore his words. Do we operate with a sense of authority backing what we say and do, or do we go rogue and speak without God’s equipping and leading?
  • Look over the rest of this passage. What are growing Christians instructed to turn away from? How are we supposed to live in this messed up world? What anticipation helps us hang on when it’s tough?

STEPS: Urgency of Urging

  1. Clean house. What is inside your heart that needs sweeping out so you can serve?
  2. Pray for the one you have a hard time loving. What is his or her name?
  3. Urge others, using points from your own story. How did God make a difference in your life?

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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