<<urging, encouragement>>

Exhortation is the challenge to apply and obey the Word of God, encouraging another in their spiritual growth. From being in healthy relationships with other believers we can speak into their lives, especially those who are weaker or struggling in their faith, discouraged and in need of comfort to build them up in the faith (2 Cor 1:4; 1 Thes 5:11,14). All believers have the responsibility to encourage

Exhortation builds up, criticism tears down

others daily (Heb 3:12,13). This calls for authentic involvement in each others lives in the course of everyday situations where we give mutual encouragement instruction and support (Rom 1:11,12). We should be proactive and intentional to see other believers growing in Christ which is the main purpose of Christian fellowship (Gal 4:19; 1 Thes 2:11,12; 1 Tim 4:13; Heb 10:24,25). We need each other in our Christian walk, as being isolated makes us more vulnerable to Satan's attacks (Eccl 4:9-12; Gal 6:1; 1 Pet 5:8). It is one of the spiritual gifts given to benefit fellow believers (Rom 12:6-8).

Moses gave the Israelites an option and exhorted them  to make a wise choice, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…” (Deut 30:19). We are presented with the same two options: either to live according to God’s ways or walk in the flesh (Gal 6:7,8). The outcomes of the two paths are contrasted: one route leads to the glories of heaven, the other ends in the lake of fire. Paul and Barnabas strengthened the disciples and encouraged them to remain true to the faith, stating that we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Act 14:22). We should be so in love with Christ that we can instill enthusiasm into the lives of those who are finding the Christian path difficult, coming along side and, as appropriate, helping carry their burden in a practical ‘living out our faith’ way so they won’t give up following Christ (Gal 6:2; Heb 10:35).

We are to confront, inspire, build up and support others, helping them to keep their eyes on Christ, urging them to live lives worthy of God, putting effort into what will count for eternity through insight from the Bible, godly

Spur others on in the Christian walk

counsel and genuine encouragement (1 Thes 2:12; 2Tim 4:2; Tit 2:15; Heb 3:13, 12:2). However, we must be living the talk otherwise we are hypocrites, telling others to do what we fail to do ourselves.

Our words can have far reaching effects so be wise in the use of your tongue; sharing an appropriate Scripture verse is a blessing (Prov 18:21; Rom 15:4; Eph 4:29; Col 3:16; 1 Thes 4:18). Praying with and for them is a powerful way to minister the love of God (Rom 15:5,6; Eph 6:18-20; Col 1:10-12; 2 Thes 2:16,17). The occasional short note/card, email or text also lets others know they are not forgotten. Who have I urged on in the faith today?

See also: accountability, challenge, confront, encouragement, relationships, urge.