When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours! —Romans 1:12 (NLT)
Encourage each other in your faith, Paul declares! When you get together, speak hope to each other. Speak life instead of despair. Speak what the Holy Spirit encourages you to speak, but always speak it with His love, and be willing to easily receive as well as you give. Speaking the truth in love is like iron sharpening iron. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT). We can bring out the best in each other, or one-by-one we can destroy each other’s hope. It is our choice. Like dominoes we shall tumble—either wounded by judgment or encouraged by the discipline of His love.
At the center of this encouragement grounding our thoughts and actions, is always the grace of Jesus. Without it, speaking the truth in love becomes condemnation. Without His grace our actions—our encouragement—our hope—have no power. They are useless. With His grace, all is possible. Nothing stands against His love, which always forgives and redeems.
“Don’t make light of my discipline—don’t allow it to crush your heart,” the Lord whispers, “because I discipline those that I love. I encourage those I call my sons and daughters. I will discipline you because I love you, and want to see my best in you” (Hebrews 12: 5-9)! So the iron of someone else’s faith sharpens your own. And yours sharpens another, and thus we go on, encouraging each other with the love that continually rescues, encourages, and changes us!
There is no greater love than laying down your life for another—no greater purpose than laying down who you think you are for the sake of someone else. Be continually sharpened and refined by the loving forgiveness of His grace. Allow His best to change your life. Receive His loving discipline as easily as you give it away. Iron sharpens iron, and both are made stronger for the journey.
© 2018 Lynn Lacher