Philippians 2:1… “Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up?” (TLB) Paul goes on and explains the four things that must accompany that “cheering up.” They are encouragement through exhortation, the persuasive powers of love, the fellowship (participation and sharing) of the Spirit, and compassion that bring mercies in the form of needed help. It’s amazing what “cheering up” can do. Recently a letter about health from a leading university indicated that the emotional support people receive from their closest relationships may be more valuable to the resistance of disease than any medication or mineral supplements that are on the market. In other words, cheering one another up is a disease fighter. The word “cheer” means “to have and exercise courage; to be bold and confident.” Cheering one another up builds courage in those who hurt.
Cheering one another up is designed to draw the spirit, soul, and mind away from worry, anxiety, and fear. The devil fights us in our minds in order to get us into wrong thinking. The devil fights us in our spirits to get us to do wrong. He fights us in our emotions so that we won’t exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 4:27-32 to not to “give place to the devil” (v. 27, KJV) and then proceeds to show us the results of the work of the devil. Paul shows us how to recognize the ways we give the devil place. We give the devil place by becoming over-angry, holding grudges, stealing, using bad language, living immoral lives, being mean and bad-tempered, quarreling, and using harsh words. If you are doing these things, you need to ask yourself, “Why am I thinking this way and why am I doing these things?” Paul told the Corinthian church that every wrong thought must be brought into obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1-5).
Mortality and disease may be directly related to the stress of loneliness and isolation. The spirit of this age is seen in coldness towards the church and cynical attitudes towards the Bible and Jesus Christ. There is an element in society that wants to do away with Jesus Christ.
If there was ever a day for the ministry of “cheering up,” it is today. “Son, be of good cheer,” Jesus said to a man sick with palsy (Matthew 9:2, KJV). “Be of good cheer; it is I,” said Jesus as He approached the disciples who were trying to survive a storm (Matthew 14:27). Encouragement helps us weather storms. Paul was on the deck of a sinking ship and told the crew to “be of good cheer.” He then told of a visit from the Lord promising that not one life would be lost, only the ship. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation [pressures]: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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