Living the life

This section is included as a personal study.  It contains a number of Bible references which we hope readers will find useful.  Select a Bible which is clear and understandable.  If you need further help,  advice or explanation please do not hesitate to ask. 

At Levin Uniting Church we try to be a place of welcome and inclusion where people from all walks of life can feel they belong.   As a Church we want people to feel comfortable and encouraged in their daily life.

First Thessalonians 5:11 says: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”   Throughout the Bible we see instructions to encourage one another with verses which are meant to encourage us.    Jesus told His followers, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).

In the Old Testament Elijah struggled with discouragement (1 Kings 19:3-10), and so do we.  It’s important to remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Even where Christians do not experience overt persecution or hatred, we know life can be difficult.  Discouragement is not an uncommon human experience.  At times, recognizing there is meaning in the seemingly inconsequential things we do is difficult to understand.  A man in the early church named Joseph was given the nickname “Barnabas,” which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36).  What a blessing Barnabas was to the believers of his day! Through the encouragement of Barnabas, the apostle Paul was first accepted by the church in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27). Through the encouragement of Barnabas, Mark was given a second chance after an abject failure (Acts 13:13; 15:39).

Encouragement :

  • Makes it easier to live in a fallen world in a holy way.
  • Makes it easier to love as Jesus loved (see John 13:34-35).
  • Gives hope (Romans 15:4).
  • Helps us through times of discipline and testing (Hebrews 12:5).
  • Nurtures patience and kindness (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galatians 5:22-26).
  • Makes it easier to sacrifice our own desires for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
  • Makes it easier to live the Christian life.

Without encouragement, life would soon feel pointless and burdensome. Without encouragement, we can be overwhelmed by the very real pains of our lives.  Without encouragement, we feel unloved.  Without encouragement, we begin to think that God is a liar or is unconcerned with our welfare. So, the Bible tells us to encourage one another, to remind each other of the truth that God loves us, that God equips us, that we are treasured, that our struggles are worth it.

Encouragement from the Bible gives us the will to carry on. It is a glimpse of the bigger picture. It can prevent burn-out. It can save us from believing lies (“sin’s deceitfulness”). Encouragement helps us experience abundant life (see John 10:10).

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” God’s Word is full of encouragement. Pleasant words, indeed.

Scripture is full of guidance around how we should treat each other.  If we’re serious about following Christ, we will heed his admonition that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).  The following Scriptures explain clearly what God expects from us in this regard.

1 Thessalonians 5:11:  And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

John 13:34-35:  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.    By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Romans 12:10:  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:16:  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.

Romans 13:8:  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:13:  Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Romans 15:7:  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Romans 15:14:  I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Romans 16:16:   Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.

1 Corinthians 1:10:  I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Galatians 5:13:  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2:  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:32:  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 5:19:  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Ephesians 5:21:  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Colossians 3:13:  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:16:  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Hebrews 3:13:  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Hebrews 10:24:  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Hebrews 10:25:  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

James 4:11:  Do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

1 Peter 3:8:  Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.