Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive (seasoned with salt) so that you will have the right response for everyone.
-1 Thess. 5:11, 1 Cor. 14:26, Eph. 4:29, Col. 3:21 & 4:6

The ministry of discouragement is not a ministry of the church.  We are called to encourage each other.  We want to build up and not tear down.  

Our words should always be calling each other higher.  Urging and cheering on are part of encouraging.  Gracious words accentuate the positive.  

We want to help people where they are going in the right direction.  We want to celebrate even the smallest victories.  Encouragement means to build someone up.  "I affirm you", we're saying.

People will become aggravated when we tease them or try to control them.  People will be discouraged if we talk at them, or down to them.  People want to be spoken to from beside them, from where they are.  

Think about Jesus sitting next to the woman at the well (John 4).  He sat beside her and he talked to her about her brokenness, matter-of-factly, and corrected her theological misconceptions, gently.  He was with her, by her side; and he spoke to her.  

Prophetic people can be harsh with their words, because they see things in black and white sometimes and they envision where people should be and are not.  Prophetic people and intercessors both have to watch for bitterness, as they perceive where God wants the people, but see the people resisting.  Prophets and intercessors are stewards of the grace (1 Peter 4:10) of insight into God's direction, and have the responsibility to stand in the gap (Ezek. 22:30).

Having insight, does not give us the right to be judgmental or harsh with people.  We may be frustrated and grieved.  When we speak, we must speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), for example, we might say, "I am disappointed with you", or "I am frustrated with you", or "I am so grieved"....  "because I love you".

The love is the key.  The most eloquent, even true, words are an irritating sound, when there is not rooted in authentic love (1 Cor. 13:1-2).   Jesus style, the Christ way, is to speak in love.  We need to be growing in the christlikeness of speaking with love.  The way in is the way on.  Jesus saves and Jesus makes you like him, if you will walk with him.

The church needs fathers (1 Cor. 4:15), who suffer labor pains as Christ is formed in his church (Gal. 4:19).  Teaching is good, but fathering is indispensable.  Fathers train and mentor.  Fathers are patient and kind.  Fathers model a life of love and ministry.  Fathers laugh and cry with you.  Fathers care enough to confront.  Fathers never give up on people who stray.  Fathers want to see you make it on your own.  Fathers love children and babies.  Fathers are encouraging in that they show us how to be courageous in a hard life.  Fathers teach us how to be fathers.

It is interesting that Paul describes the prophecy gift as primarily for the upbuilding, edifying, or encouraging of the church (1 Cor. 14:3).  The prophetic person needs to learn how to use their gift to build up people and encourage them.  We can call people up higher to what we see, in an encouraging way.  After all, the only way that we will get there is grace, so why not talk with grace about getting to a place that only God's grace can take us to?

When we re-calibrate our prophetic ministries to be primarily for strengthening, encouraging, and comforting (1 Cor. 14:3); then we will realize that the prophetically gifted people are the ones that God will primarily use to speak in church gatherings.



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The picture above is from Joseph Dubose.

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