Acts of the Apostles

Encourage Each Other

Acts 14:22 – Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Encouragement is one of the best things that we can give each other and it costs nothing. We all need a little lift now and then, a kind of reassurance that we are on the right track or that we are doing okay. Each of us have been discouraged at times and it is really not a nice feeling. The sad thing is, it is usually other people that cause us to feel discouraged. Maybe God has put something on your heart to do but you don’t get any support for the idea. Maybe you feel that your character or your integrity is being questioned by those you trust, or that you thought trusted you. Maybe you long for change but feel trapped in a cycle of routine.

None of us are under the illusion that this life will not have trials and we expect that we will have a few knocks along the way. What we don’t expect is that some of those knocks will come from our Christian family. Warren Buffett is quoted as saying, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Two thousand years before that, the Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Good advice on both counts although we don’t really need to go outside of the Bible to learn how to treat people.

Paul knew all about obstacles and trials and he had, of course, been a ‘tribulator’ himself for quite a while. He knew the importance of strengthening the souls of the disciples which was why he retrace his steps through every town encouraging them to continue in the faith.

We shouldn’t have to remind ourselves that we are children of God and that we are called to love one another but occasionally it is still necessary. The words we use can either build up or tear down; we need to be so careful how we use them.  Let us try to be the kind of people who strengthen and encourage each other.

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