Devotional: ‘The Gift of Encouragement’

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Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Note in vs. 8 that Paul refers to the Gift of Exhortation. Some translations uses the word ‘exhortation’ while others use the word ‘encouragement.’  The key thought behind the Greek word for exhortation is to {come along side of another in order to strengthen and encourage.} Variations of this word are seen throughout the New Testament.

1. Comfort:

John 11:19  And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

Many Christians with the Gift of Encouragement seek to comfort those who are hurting.

2. Courage:

2 Corinthians 7:6  Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

The word ‘encourage’ literally means to put courage into someone. Some exercise the Gift of Encouragement by instilling courage in those who are discouraged.

3. Commitment:

A third way many exercise the Gift of Encouragement or Exhortation is by appealing to fellow believers to faithfully live out the Christian life. Note the various ways this particular word is used in other portions of scripture:

Acts 14:22  Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith,

Romans 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Corinthians 4:16  Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

1 Timothy 6:2  These things teach and exhort .

2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Hebrew 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Every believer should desire to be an encourager, yet certain members of the body of Christ have been uniquely equipped. Some people have a special ability to care for those who are hurting, They do so through cards, calls and personal visits. Others have the special ability to build us up and to give us courage to do great things. Then there are those who have a burden to appeal to us to live more faithfully for Christ.

According to Paul, whatever gift the Lord has given us, we should seek to use it to its maximum potential. What a great word of encouragement that is!

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