Giving and Receiving Exhortation

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A member of the body of Christ should be willing to both give and receive exhortation.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15

Most of us are much more willing to receive instruction from our pastors than from fellow members of the congregation. Yet today’s passage gives us some surprising advice regarding how a church is to operate.

First of all, we are told to appreciate and esteem our leaders who have charge over us in the Lord. They are our shepherds, who feed us with the Word of God and care for our spiritual health and growth.

However, this passage also describes the responsibilities we have to admonish, encourage, and help one another in the church. We are not just spectators but are told to be actively involved in helping each other grow in the faith. Therefore, let’s consider some ways we can do this:

See God’s presence in difficulties. When we come alongside fellow believers, we can help them lift their focus from their circumstances and begin to view their trials as opportunities for spiritual pruning, growth, and discovery.

Become personally involved. Exhortation is best received through face-to-face meetings because the other person sees our care and concern. Furthermore, when we observe his or her response, the insight we gain helps us to understand the heart issues and perceive which biblical principles to apply.

Be teachable. In helping others grow toward spiritual maturity, we too must be willing to make changes in our own life, because we can’t pass wisdom on to others unless we’re pursuing it ourselves.

We’ve been entrusted with these responsibilities. Therefore, we must ground ourselves in scriptural truth so we can give wise guidance to others.

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