Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Encourage and Build

Consider the following scripture: "Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thess 5:11). This comes in a context where Christians were wondering why people were dying before Jesus returned. They thought his return would be sooner; they thought he was going to be coming soon to rescue them from the intense opposition they faced daily; they were consumed with the reality of his coming (or lack thereof).

Have you ever been consumed with something? Completely consumed with something? You could not--however hard you tried--get this area in your life out of your mind; it was consuming all your energy, all your thoughts, all your conversations...everything. Maybe some relationship you were in. Maybe some assignment coming up. Maybe your bad grades. Maybe some family drama. Maybe your boss. Maybe the way your friends are treating you. Whatever it was, it consumed who you were.

The Thessalonians were consumed. Paul offered some great words to these people: "encourage one another and build each other up." He knew that if they began to focus on others, their consumption with themselves would diminish. Funny how that happens.

I offer the same advice. We need to focus on encouraging others and building others up if we are consumed with our own situation. You cannot consistently be consumed with yourself if you are solely focused on other people. Try it out today. Give at least two people sincere, edifying encouragement. You must make it a point to do it. See how encouraging others encourages you.

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