“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:1-3).
Do hearts of Christians ever need to be encouraged? Yes! “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).
Did you notice this command, given to Christians, is to exhort one another daily? The word exhort has the meaning to encourage, to strengthen, to comfort, to instruct. Why is exhorting needed daily? The answer is simple: “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14). Christians must be steadfast to the end.
We are commanded to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters daily to remain steadfast and never cease obeying the commands of God.
In your study through the Old Testament, you will read of many times when God encouraged the hearts of His people. Think on these two examples.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
The New Testament gives this same encouragement to Christians. As Paul and Barnabas went about teaching the gospel, they continued to encourage those who had become Christians. “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God ‘” (Acts 14:21-22).
Study these words to encourage your heart: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
As the apostle Paul was exhorting the elders of the church in Ephesus, he spoke these words, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). We also must allow the word of God to encourage and teach us daily.
May your hearts be encouraged daily!
By Dena Ivie
Dena and her husband, Charles serve with the church in Tatum, NM. Charles is the pulpit minister for the congregation of about 20 members from the local area. There are more articles by Dena on the ladies’ page of their website and onher blog.