Thursday, March 10, 2016

Are You An Encourager?

As I was reflecting this morning, I thought about the overall spiritual environment that exists in many of our churches. I imagine some churches are thriving, everything seems to be going well: Christ is being taught, souls are being saved, baptisms are up, members are serving in their Spirit-given areas of giftedness; Godly leadership prevails, and the unity of the Spirit permeates every area of the congregation. Sounds like a perfect church; I believe that there may be some churches that operate like this to a certain extent, but let’s face it, there is NO perfect church, because there are NO perfect people.

Our churches may be in different seasons of spiritual health. Some have the hallmarks of a very healthy church. Some are on life-support. Maybe, there are those that are somewhere in between, not thriving as well as they could be, yet not in need of a major overhaul.

I thought about us as pastors’ and ministers’ wives. What type of demeanor do we contribute to the overall spiritual environment in our churches? When we see things that bother or trouble us, what do we do? Do we become prayer warriors and encouragers or grumblers and complainers?

We all long for a church where most things are operating at a high level of excellence, no major complaints because things are going great. In reality, in many of our churches attendance is down, people are leaving, much grumbling and complaining exits, members lose focus on serving God’s kingdom, and leadership is criticized (and unfortunately that includes our husbands since they are a very vital part of leadership). We can take it all personally, become discouraged in heart OR we can turn our focus on Christ who can bring hope and healing to any situation.

I think we as wives can make a difference!

We can pray. And pray some more and keep on praying! That’s what the Bible says (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The power of prayer is so awesome. Even if the Lord does not bring about immediate change to a negative situation or purge the church of “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, He can change our attitudes toward situations and people and give us His peace in the process.

We can speak kind words. When others complain or want to pull us into a negative conversation, may we be focused on speaking wholesome words that build up or edify, according to Ephesians 4:29. Our words really matter. Pleasant words can go a long way in encouraging saints, yet slander and gossip can cause strife among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s do our part in using our tongues wisely, and not maliciously.

We can delight in worship and fellowship. In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Lord tells us not to stop coming to church because we need one another, and when we meet together as a corporate body of believers, we get the privilege of worshiping our Savior together and we become encouraged by each other’s faith.

Let us not become weary as we labor for Christ. No, our churches are not perfect, and neither are we. But one day we will be in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Our Savior, and we will be perfect, no spots, no blemishes, no stains, NO SIN!

So along this journey, let’s be encouragers and be a blessing to those in our church family.

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