Words of Encouragement
We often hear the word encouragement several times from our Pastors and teachers of the Bible. So what does it mean? Encouragement is the act of inspiring courage, spirit, or confidence. The apostle Paul was a great example of an encourager. In the book of Philemon, for example, Paul inspired courage in Philemon to receive Onesimus as he would Paul.
When Paul appealed to Philemon, Paul spoke to him as a beloved friend and told Philemon that Philmon’s love and faith toward Jesus and others warmed his heart. I hope that I am thought of this way by others who know me. I want to be able to recognize these qualities in others. Paul also had great faith in Philemon that he would do the right thing when it came to accepting Onesimus’ return. Onesimus had a great friend in Paul.
Another thing, Paul was tactful in his approach to Philemon. He was not demanding of Philemon to release Onesimus. He inspired courage in Philemon to rise above the cultural norms. After all, there were others in the area that would see how Philemon treated a fellow believer who was once his slave. Paul was also hoping to visit with him once he was freed.
Moreover, what I have learned from reading Philemon is that I am to be one that will speak words of encouragement to anyone in need. I am also to speak tactfully when speaking on the behalf of someone. Kind and thoughtful words will go further than harsh and demanding ones. Before I speak, I hope that I would stop and pray asking the Lord for the right words.
I thank my God for you when I remember you in my prayers because I hear of your love and of the faith you have towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. Philemon 4-5
A Call to Be Culturally Disobedient
The time is now for all Christians to stand and to take a stand. If we say that we are Christians then our lives out to show it. Yet, in today’s world society wants Christians to shut up and sit down. Take action and be culturally disobedient.
What is Cultural Disobedience? It is to resist the culture when it tries to soften the Christian faith. Therefore, one should not be afraid to act as a Christian is called to act in all areas of one’s life. For example, to pray in public, speaking up when Christianity is belittled, and not letting the society dictate how you are to live out your faith.
What Does It Look Like?
One of my favorite sayings is if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a duck. Therefore, if I say that I am a Christian then my life should reflect it regardless of what society would have me do. How I treat others ought to reflect Jesus in my life by my compassion and generosity. When I say a prayer of thanks for my meal out it is because I am grateful. It is wrong of me to refrain from doing so because of what others might think. Yet, my attitude should be in check also. I desire to be humble in my attitude not to think of myself as better than others.
Another way that I can be culturally disobedient is speaking up when someone speaks against Christianity. I am to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in me according to 1 Peter 3:15. If I acknowledge Jesus before men, He will acknowledge me before His Father in Heaven. I can trust that God will give me the words to say. He can also help me to be able to do so in truth and in love.
Then again, we as Christians have allowed the world to dictate to us as to how we can or cannot live out our faith. Yet, we are called to be influencers and not to be influenced by the world. Let our actions speak louder than our words. Be Jesus with skin on to a hurting world. Thus, we can begin to truly influence the world for Jesus.
All things considered, I hope to live out my faith in a manner that is pleasing to God and draws others to Jesus. I pray that you will also be encouraged to do likewise.
Hope is Found in Jesus!