Pastoral Perspectives

Encourage One Another

Looking at the happenings around us can discourage us! Looking at the way people behave and do can discourage us! Looking at the issues and stresses of life can discourage us! Are you affected by all these? Are you beginning to feel discouraged? Are you beginning to feel disturbed? Are you beginning to feel distressed? Are you dragged by sins dark sway? Are you struggling alone, without the support and the encouragement of a Discipleship Group? Where is your anchor? Where is your rock? Where is your refuge? Where is your rest? World happenings, people, ministries and heavy workloads can discourage you! Who should you turn to? Let us look at the words of God and see what and how we can learn from them.

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3: 12-13 ESV

In these Bible verses, I can learn two things. I need to take care! I must take care of myself: my emotional and spiritual well-being. The instruction for me is clear: “Take care! Look out and do not assume!” If I think that I can stand strong against this or that temptation, I must take heed lest I fall into sin. If I think that I can succeed in this or that area of ministry, I too must watch out lest the subtlety of pride comes in. I need to constantly pray and draw close to God in order to stand firm and be strong in the LORD (see Ephesians 6:10). When I pray and draw close to God, I am allowing God to speak to me and show me more about Himself and also more about myself so that I may know Him more and also know myself more. With His guidance and help, I will be able to avoid the pitfalls of sins. I also need the support and the encouragement of my Shalom Discipleship Group (DG) to keep me accountable and aligned with the Will of God! Whenever I have any concerns or prayer needs, I will inform my DG members, requesting them to pray for me. They will always uphold me in fervent, faithful prayers. Among us, there may be those who are struggling and those who are spiritually affected, that is, facing spiritual dryness and wondering how to cope with life. My encouragement to you is: “Take care! Turn to God in prayers and draw close to God! Talk to someone whom you can trust and learn from them. Perhaps, God may be speaking to you through them.” So, my appeal to all is: “Watch out so that you do not have an evil, unbelieving heart that brings you away from the true and living God!”

The next instruction for us is also very clear: “Exhort one another every day”. You and I often need encouragement. Encouragement refreshes and restores! By the way, exhortation is similar to encouragement. Exhortation is an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something (Extracted). I thank God for the community of believers here at True Way and especially for my Shalom DG members who have been a great encouragement to me. They did give me feedbacks and encouraging words to spur me on in ministry. There are many opportunities for us to show love and care to. Let us not miss or neglect such opportunities. Let us look out for one another to minister and encourage as the Lord our
God enables us. I need to constantly open up myself to people but of course, discreetly and wisely. We have to share as we are a community! What you have learnt may not be just for yourself but may be beneficial for others too! In Hebrews 10: 24-25, I learnt that I need to consider how I can be an encouragement or a boost to others. There is a crucial need of stirring up one another to real and fruitful action, that is, deed which honours God! Let us stir up one another to love and to good works! In these Bible verses, the instruction is very clear: “Encourage one another”. Why do we need to encourage one another? It is due to the fact that the days are evil (see Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV) and we are easily hardened by the deceitfulness of sin if we are not careful. It is also due to the fact that the Day is drawing near, that is, the Second Coming of Christ is eminent. Hence, there is a crucial need also to meet up with the people of God regularly and consistently. Attending Sunday worship services and DG meetings are important for our emotional and spiritual well-being. Let us not neglect such important disciplines for our spiritual life.

Finally, my prayer for us all is that we will go forth and be an encouragement to the community of believers here at True Way, stirring up one another to love and to good works. The rewards of encouraging one another cannot be overlooked but we will be indeed overwhelmed!