August 20, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Encouraging and Building Up Today
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
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As a lawyer, I often deal with people who are in a terrible legal struggle that threatens their entire business life, and sometimes their whole way of life. During this Great Recession, I have seen family businesses close after forty years in the same location, and new, promising business fail for lack of financing. I also see people devastated by cancer, heart problems, and strokes face financial turmoil. I try to care for my clients as friends. Not only do I enjoy praying with them, but I also send them e-mails from time to time designed to encourage them keep up their trust in the Lord Jesus. You see, going through legal troubles often mimics life, because you simply must trust God to help you through the struggles, and also to enjoy the good times. We need encouragement every day and we need our friends to build us up every day. We also need to be people who build up and encourage our friends, every day.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul starts his thought with the word “Therefore.” I was taught in legal writing classes that the term “therefore” meant that we were using logical arguments and drawing conclusions. In this verse, Paul is drawing a conclusion based upon the supernatural revelation from God concerning our future of being with Christ forever, whether we are asleep or awake. Because of God’s love for us, we will always be with Jesus. Based upon that revelation of the future from God, and His eternal love for us, we should be using the revealed truths from God to encourage and build up saints. We do not say just: “Have a nice day!” As believers, we say: “We live together with Jesus forever.” Or we might say, “We do not grieve as those who have no hope, but know that our loved ones will be present with the Lord, even if they die today.”
Paul also tells us here that we need this encouragement all the time. The Christian life means that we are always looking to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). We use our spiritual gifts for the building up and the growth of the body of Christ in love (Ephesians 4:16). In all ways, in action and speech, we need Christ within us to spread His loving encouragement to every believer around us. Tell your friends how much you need and appreciate their encouragement in Christ.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we build up and encourage one another in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we keep on encouraging one another and building up one another.
● We harm our bonds of friendship in Christ when we stop encouraging one another and start tearing down one another.
Application for Today
Today, I want to encourage my friends in Christ and build them up using my spiritual gifts. What will you do to encourage your Christian friends today?