Everybody likes to be encouraged.
The Christian message contains much encouragement .
But the present reality in the Western world, of a falling away from God and His ways is blatantly obvious, as predicted in scripture.
There has been moral decline before – in history. So for those who don’t hold to the idea of this being the last of the last days – they can at least admit that confusion and every evil work is increasing on the earth?
Many ministries dwell solely on everything encouraging in the Word of God. And it is difficult not to – as we all need encouragement, and perhaps don’t get enough of it, especially in light of the moral climate worldwide.
We are to seek edification and to edify each other – it is what the family of God is all about.
Some cultures seem to look for the emotional high aspect of fellowship/friendship more than others. There is the emotional high expressed demonstratively – shall we say.
Then there are ‘quieter’ cultures who place more emphasis on the friendship that is demonstrated by quiet faithfulness in always being there for one another.
We all need verbal appreciation from others, starting at childhood. But we also need the helping hand that doesn’t make a song-and-dance about it’s actions.
Some Christian ministries avoid any reference to anything negative.
When the child is about to put it’s hand in the open coal fire – a warning shout of love is absolutely necessary. Even though the warning may sound shrill.
Any warning shouts of love, that include the gospel message, society needs to hear today is often not appreciated.
Of course it can be said that there are those who carry a negative ‘holier than thou’ attitude and it turns people off, when these folks hand out correction.
But the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction to the point where there is less exhortation to improvement in our walk with God.
No growth required, no correction, no call in preaching to increase Christ-likeness presented in teaching as something to be sought after as part of what being a Christian is all about. Just stroke our ‘ego’ and we shall be alright.
God’s Word would call us to balance.
Encouragement should be looked for on a broader basis than one that can only hear ‘you can make it’ ‘you are special’ and ‘you are loved’.
Lord help us to seek a closer walk with you, that is not dependant on the constant verbal propping-up that others supply, but at the same time embraces demonstrative encouragement and empathy, needed, when we go through the valleys of despondency or discouragement.
Paul tells us that ‘no man stood with me’ (II Timothy 4/16-17), yet The Lord did. Revealing that he was a mature saint, setting us an example to follow, in making Christ our all in all, and all we need.
So let us maintain the balance between receiving encouragement from each other, and directly from The Lord Himself.- taking on board Paul’s advice to Timothy:
I Timothy 1/
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: