“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Let’s face it, we all encounter difficult days…some more difficult than others.
There are days that we can manage on our own, and then there are days when we are completely floored by the problems that come our way. The pressures may seem impossible to overcome, and sometimes that may be true…
I know what you’re thinking, “that doesn’t sound very encouraging to me”…let me finish:
The pressures may seem impossible to overcome, and sometimes that may be true…but we were never meant to handle it all on our own.
In the Apostle Paul’s day, the new believers in Thessalonica were encountering all kinds of trouble. Thessalonica was the largest city in Macedonia which boasted over 200,000 people. This city was known for being a military and commercial port city. So within this large city in Macedonia, these young Christians were encountering all sorts of trouble – even persecution and death because of their new-found declarations of faith. In the midst of their living testimonies, they longed for the day of Christ’s return. What does that mean? They lived in fear every single day, and couldn’t wait for Christ to come back. And so these young Christians lived expectant lives while encouraging each other onward.
The persecution in Thessalonica must have been fierce for the Apostle Paul to remind them that they needed one another and they ought to continue (“just as you are doing”) to encourage one another.
Let’s put this into perspective:
We might not be facing certain death for our faith, instead we might be struggling to pay rent, finding funds to feed our families, enduring a tough problem at work or at home…all of these situations are arduous and, at times they keep us up at night.
The killer is silence.
What do I mean?
We think no other Christian is struggling, and if they are it must mean that their faith isn’t strong enough. This could not be further from the truth.
We have this idea that we shouldn’t let other Christians know how discouraged we really are, because we don’t want them to think less of us. Because we don’t want others to talk. Because we fear judgment of others. Because we believe in the perfect Christian life that really doesn’t exist…because we’ve bought the lie that to be a Christian means we don’t struggle with these things anymore.
And so, silence is a killer.
No one knows.
We don’t share.
And our hurts go unchecked, unnoticed, and unaddressed.
How can we encourage one another if we aren’t being honest with each other?
How can we carry each other’s burdens if we allow silence to slowly kill our souls?
We cannot continue to buy the lie that everything is fine when we face times of trial and we keep it private. (Some will laugh at this and say, but church is full of hypocrites and gossipers…then find REAL believers in whom you can confide!)
Healing can begin with out this kind of encouragement, but long is the process and deep the scars. When we have others who will journey beside us, and encourage us, we will find added strength, hope, abundance and encouragement.
Don’t let silence kill you.