Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 10/23/19

Your Acts Speak Volumes!


STORY: Encouragement Language

We’ve been talking about love languages for years. The same ways we express and experience love works as we communicate our encouragement languages.

  1. Gifts. Give physical items that are uplifting, silly, heartfelt, or customized to the individual lets them know we care.
  2. Words. Encouraging words build up. (Reminds me of the song lyric, “where seldom is heard a discouraging word...”)
  3. Acts. When we serve others, we show them we care. Making a special effort.
  4. Physical touch. Hugs are good. A pat on the back or the hand. Fist bumps.
  5. Time. We sacrifice our own schedule in selfless ways to be there for the recipient. We spend quality time with them.

How do you express your encouragement language to others? Sometimes you can even combine several of these to give others a boost.

STUDY: Splurge the Urge

Sometimes the same words translated “edify” or “exhort” in Scripture are translated as the word “urge.” Let’s continue our study on encouraging others in these verses.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.  Always be joyful. Never stop praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-17 NLT)
  • Do you notice the different levels of intensity between urge and encourage here? The lazy person needs urging, the timid person needs encouraging. The reason? Some are weak. It takes patience to do good to each other.
  • The last two sentences here help us be patient, help us encourage others, help us urge those who need a stronger push. What are they? How do they tie in to the rest?
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. (Hebrews 13:20-22 NLT)
  • The writer of Hebrews is urging readers to pay attention to his exhortation. He put a lot of heart and soul into his instruction, and he’s invested in helping believers grow and in God being glorified. This is what fuels him to be so persistent in his intensity.
  • What does this passage remind us?
  • How can you apply it to your life today?
  • Does God have your attention? If not, what is distracting you from his voice?
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (Hebrews 3:12-14 NLT)
  • It is uncomfortable to warn others about how sin and evil want to interfere with our Christian witness. This passage is specifically talking about brothers and sisters in Christ being accountable to each other so that we help each other not to slip away from the faith.
  • What causes the hearts of people to harden against God?
  • What happens if we are faithful to the end? What is necessary to keep the faith?
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. (Jude 1:3 NLT)
  • Look how The Message paraphrase words this passage: “Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.”
  • What is the urgency in defending the faith of God? Do you sense a stronger need for urgency today than at the time Jude was written? Yet, do you also notice more complacency now? Not everyone is equipped to speak strong truths boldly. But all believers can share what their faith means to them. What is your part in preserving the Christian witness in our country—our world?
We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12 NLT)
  • What actions do you see here?
  • What do you think motivated these actions?

STEPS: Encourage One Another

You earn the right to speak strong words of truth with love into someone’s life after you have shown them you care. Let’s use our “encouragement languages” to do that!

  1. Gifts. What physical item will you give someone this week? Who will be the recipient?
  2. Words. What encouraging words need said to someone who is discouraged this week? Or consider giving them a handwritten note.
  3. Acts. What special act can you do for someone else, that they can’t do for themselves?
  4. Physical touch. Who looks like they need a hug this week? Who shall you put an arm around or hold hands during closing prayer at church?
  5. Time. Who needs to spend time with you this week? What needs to be deleted from your schedule to make this happen?

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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