WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 07, 2023
TOPIC: MUTUAL ENCOURAGEMENT
BY T. O. BANSO
“For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours” (Romans 1:11-12 New Living Translation).
Christianity is not only about the relationship of a believer with God but also about the relationship of believers among themselves. Some people erroneously think that once they give their lives to Jesus what is important for their spiritual growth and the success of their Christian journey is their relationship with Him alone. But they also need relationships with other believers.
Many times in the New Testament, the phrase “one another” is used regarding the relationships of believers among themselves. It is important to pay attention to these scriptures.
One of the benefits believers enjoy in their relationship with each other or one another is mutual encouragement. I was talking to a Christian recently who felt extremely disappointed that at a time of trouble in her life, the church she belonged to was not available to give her and her family the needed encouragement and support. The priest didn’t show up. This is not supposed to be so. The church, including the leadership, should be concerned about what happens to all members. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (New King James Version). In other words, an injury to one should be considered an injury to all. Christians should be their brothers’ keepers. Mutual encouragement is important.
Everybody in the church needs encouragement. The members need encouragement just as the Pastors do. We must seek to encourage one another as members of the church or the body of Christ. Verses 20-25 of 1 Corinthians say, “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another” (New King James Version).
Christians need one another and can help one another’s faith. What we do for each other can help us to grow in faith and in the faith, or otherwise. Therefore, we must relate with each other with the understanding that we are interconnected as members of the body of Christ and affect one another. This is why it is wrong for someone to be born again and not belong to a fellowship (church) where he worships with fellow Christians. Such a Christian cannot grow to maturity by isolating himself from other believers.
Every Christian should belong to a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. It could be both virtual and physical. But sometimes, because of certain challenges, it could be virtual only. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25 New King James Version).
In his letter to the Roman Christians, the Apostle Paul said one of the things he always prayed for was the opportunity to come to see them (Romans 1:10). But what would be the benefit of the visit? He said, “For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours” (Romans 1:11-12 New Living Translation). Did you notice the expected mutual benefit of the visit? This is what I call mutual encouragement.
The New International Version renders the scripture thus: “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Note the phrase “mutually encouraged.” Mutual encouragement.
Paul said during his visit, he would encourage the faith of the Roman Christians and they would also encourage his faith. The New Century Version puts 1 Corinthians 1:12 this way: “I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.” Your faith can help another believer’s faith and his/her faith can help yours, too. We must, therefore, not look down on or despise another believer or the church. Those who despise or neglect the church deny themselves the opportunity to be helped by the faith of other believers and vice versa.
After giving your life to Jesus, be part of a Bible-believing church where you can encourage the faith of other believers and they can encourage your faith too. Sometimes we are on the mountain in our faith but another time, we could be in the valley. Those who are on the mountain can encourage those who are in the valley. We need each other. We must encourage each other’s faith. The members can encourage one another’s faith just as the encouragement can come from the Pastor. The Pastor’s faith can be encouraged by the members. Nobody is an island.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2 New International Version). As a minister of God, Timothy was sent to encourage these Christians in their faith.
As a church leader, encourage your church members. As a church member, encourage other believers. Don’t discourage them. Also, open yourself to the encouragement that other believers and the church can give you. Acts 4:36 refers to Joseph (Joses), a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas, which means Son of Encouragement. Every Christian should be a son or daughter of encouragement!
God uses believers to minister to each other just as He uses the Pastor to minister to them. But the pastor, too, can be encouraged by those he ministers to. Nobody should say he doesn’t need another believer. We are all members of the body of Christ and we are interconnected.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me not to fail in my responsibility to encourage other believers. Let me not discourage another believer but help their faith. I shall not deny myself the benefit of receiving encouragement from fellow Christians or the church in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947