“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Over and over, the Bible emphasizes the importance of spending time with other Christians as a source of encouragement. But encouraging one another isn’t about lifting each other’s spirits. Paul is talking about something much deeper than our emotions. Biblical encouragement lifts our eyes and thoughts to the Lord, regardless of personal circumstances or world events. How, exactly, do we do that?
Paul says to, “build up one another.” That phrase isn’t just the opposite of tearing down—it’s a picture of steady spiritual progress. Believers are to help one another develop Christ-like character and grow in our relationship with Him. We do this intentionally by participating in a small group Bible study, praying together, mentoring a younger believer, etc.
But we also encourage one another by example. The way we live and respond in everyday life should point to the Lord and reflect what the Bible teaches. That means we need to study God’s Word, allowing His Spirit to instruct and edify us directly. The Bible draws attention to a few specific truths that are especially encouraging.
Since death is not a permanent separation for believers we can comfort one another in knowing we’ll see our loved ones again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Those who know the Lord not only have the certainty of salvation but will also escape God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:2-11). What a great source of encouragement as we grapple with living in such a dark world.
Remember, the purpose of encouraging one another is not to feel better but to grow in Christ, which means holding each other accountable. “But encourage one another day after day…so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). And we should “encourage one another…all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
How are you encouraging and building up other believers? Does how you talk and how you live keep their eyes on the world, or lift their eyes to the Lord? You cannot help others move forward with Jesus if you’re not making steady spiritual progress in your own life. So be encouraged! Then encourage someone else—not to cope with circumstances here, but to look beyond this life to what’s ahead!