2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "the comfort we ourselves receive from God"
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
God is described as the God of all comfort. He is the one who comforts us in all our troubles.
Regardless of what we're going through or what we see in the world today, we can always find peace in the God of all comfort.
There are many ways we are comforted when we go through troubles. Sometimes hearing good news about our situation may be comforting as we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Other times having the word of God and the promises in his word peached to us may provide us the strength we need in being able to get through the situation.
Sometimes we are comforted when we share our issues with other believers in prayer or even just talk.
But beyond all of these things, it's important to understand that the comfort “we ourselves receive” speaks more of the person of the Holy Spirit than it does about the actions we take to encourage people.
The scripture is telling us that as we have received the spirit of comfort (Holy Spirit) that is come to teach, guide and encourage us through all our trials and tribulations, the Lord has an expectation of us that in our interaction with others who are discouraged that we encourage them not just with our love but also with an impartation of the Holy Ghost. “Freely I receive freely I give”.
There is an ancient proverb that says “feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day teach a man to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life”.
This is why as encouragers we must apply wisdom into how we encourage people who are down and out. When we encounter discouraged people, in our initial interactions with them, they may be so down that they are not able to receive the word of God.
Our love and our “love actions” are very important but should always be a precursor to sharing the good news about God’s love.
When we first encounter someone who is discouraged, we provide them with the proverbial fish to eat, so they can receive strength in their situation.
However, in the longer term as we continue to interact with people who are discouraged we must lead them to a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit.
Our job as encouragers is to show hope and encouragement and lift people up, but more importantly, lift up the name of Jesus so he takes center stage and the discouraged become encouragers themselves as they learn to fish and develop a deeper relationship with the spirit of comfort.
As we serve fish we also serve Jesus so all men become encouraged and encouragers. This is what was found in the early church as some of them were killed for the gospel.
The context of encouragement for the early church leans very heavily to persecution for the Gospel’s sake. The Identity of a believer was hidden in Christ, and they had “all in common” this is much different from the modern interpretation of faith which is closer to the American dream and new age philosophy than it is to the authentic word of God.
Let us not forget that ultimately the spirit of God desires to come and take center stage in the life of all who are discouraged so that he himself might provide them comfort.
The greatest thing we can do for the discouraged is lead them to the spirit of all comfort after we have encouraged them.
As a church let us remember that the responsibility to encourage is not a position or an office but the work of all those who would consider themselves children of God.
Stay blessed and be encouraged but better still be an encourager of a deeper more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit of God, in yourself but also all those who are discouraged.
Olivet Baptist, 04/03/2022
|Join us on Zoom every Tues at 19:30 (UK Time for Bible Study)|