The word fellowship has the ability to foster hope and affection or fear and rejection. We were made to crave true fellowship (friendship), but often we hold others at arms length wondering if we will be accepted for who we are. Will our risk be met with promise or lead us into a world of betrayal and hurt? Do faithful friends exist; and if they do, do we deserve one?
We all know incorrect fellowship can damage and disappoint our souls, but this reality will never eliminate our God-infused drive to share love and life with others. So, what’s a girl to do?
We have to start changing the way we do friendships. We have to learn to become better “fellowshippers”. If we do, we will usher in the power of hope-filled, healing relationships into our lives.
One of the first ways to become a better “fellowshipper” is to learn how to encourage.
Have you ever wanted to encourage someone, but as your “helpful” words leave your mouth, somehow the morphed as they traveled from your mind to your mouth? You spoke, and then realized that your words probably felt more like condemnation than inspiration. Like poisonous darts, your words have pierced your friend’s heart and her trust of you is crumbling as you speak.
I’ve been there. I’ve done that. So, God showed me these verses to help me understand how and why we need encouragement from one another:
Thessalonians 5:9-10: “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
God wants us to encourage each other because he never intended for us to experience the ugliness of sin. We were intended to enjoy everything good in life and remain oblivious of evil. Unfortunately, our choice to eat the fruit in the garden took that innocence from us. Since we haven’t yet reached heaven, Jesus is calling us to reflect a bit of heaven to each other speaking words of life and encouragement instead of death.
So, when I’m trying to encourage a friend, I’ve started to ask myself, “Are the words I’m about to say giving them hope, or are my words full of death and condemnation?” If what I want to say isn’t helping my friend find victory against her sin, I need to wait before I to speak. Listen a little bit longer. Wait until God gives me the proper encouragement for the situation and if he doesn’t, pray for her.
If we are willing to check our hearts, hold our tongues, and listen before we speak, we will become better “fellowshippers”. And when we improve our ability to fellowship, we will end up finding truer, lasting friendships.
Will you join me? Will you change the way you fellowship so we can be examples of Jesus and give hope to each other?
- James 3:9-10: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
- Make a list of your closest friends. Ask yourself and Lord if there has been a time you damaged your friendship through careless words.
- Pray for a time you may go to that friend and ask forgiveness. Pray for a way to apologize and make a commitment to love your friend by choosing life-giving words.
Offer It Up:
Jesus, our mouths get us in trouble so often. Will you warn us when something is about to come out that doesn’t glorify you? Help us to be wiser in what we say to one another. Amen
- James 3:9-10: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, ..My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
- The word fellowship has the ability to foster hope and affection or fear and rejection.
- When we improve our ability to fellowship, we will end up finding truer, lasting friendships.