Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Motivate and Encourage Others

As we begin a new year, many of us have made resolutions or set new goals for ourselves. For most, the resolutions and new goals revolve around eating less and exercising more. Yes. It is the same resolution that millions make every year. We dedicate ourselves to losing weight. 

Since the beginning of this year, I have heard so many people say the same thing, “I need to lose the weight I gained over the holidays.”

We spent our time with friends and family eating, partying and doing more eating. In time, the lack of exercise and the more than ample caloric intake has caught up with us all. It is now time to do something about it. We need to lose that extra weight.

Nutritionists and dietitians alike will tell you to lower your intake of junk food and increase your activity. It took time to add the extra weight and it will take time to take it off. In order for us to do that, the best way is to find someone who will help us by motivating and encouraging us along our weight loss journey.

By having someone who not only motivates and encourages us but also holds us accountable for our actions, we will be successful in reaching our weight goals and continue to live a healthy lifestyle. Many organizations that sponsor weight loss programs will work to help you find someone who can keep you on the straight and narrow path. That person, who is often trying to do the same thing, will be there for you as you try to avoid temptation and will remind you to exercise more. 

Our spiritual lives are the same way. In order for us to continue our daily walk with the Lord, we need to be motivated and encouraged along the way. We come together as believers to pray for one another during the hard times and praise God for the victories in our lives. We share in every moment not because we have to, but because we want to. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and children of God the Father.

In the tenth chapter of Hebrews, the author writes, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Using the example of weight loss. If we completely dedicate ourselves to the task of losing weight and believe that if we eat right, reduce our intake of junk food and exercise more, we will be successful in our resolution. It seems simple enough, but, when you think about it, the tasks that get us to losing the weight may cause us to simply give up.

In our spiritual lives, we must have an unwavering hope in God and know that He keeps His Word. It is not enough to simply mouth those words. We must be wholeheartedly committed to Him and know, without a doubt, that our Father will keep His promise to His children. Like losing weight, we sometimes slip back into our old ways. We tell ourselves that this little cheat won’t hurt and that we will get back on the wagon. It may work for weight loss, but it doesn’t work for our spiritual lives. We must remain obedient to God. Any deviation from that straight and narrow path will lead to sin and, ultimately, destruction.

Going back to the example of weight loss. When you have someone who is there for you when you have a moment of weakness that can talk you through the moment, then you will be successful in your resolution. That person who was there for you may also need help. In short, you are there for each other and hold one another accountable.

Look closely at what the author of Hebrews writes next, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

As we grow in our faith, we should always keep in mind that we are to follow the example of Christ Jesus and lead lives dedicated to serving others. We should do things out of love and the desire to do good works not because they lead to earthly praise and recognition. We do good things in the name of God the Father to bring Him honor and glory. We are nothing without Him and with Him leading us, we can do so much in His name. By motivating and reminding others to do good things out of love, we help each other grow spiritually and live up to our desire to become more like Christ Jesus. 

In the fifth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

When we do those things that are a pleasing aroma to God and follow the example of Christ Jesus, we can truly live a fulfilled life overflowing with love. Each day we live is a blessing and an opportunity to reach out to those who walk in darkness. Each day is another day to serve not only God but also others. By putting others and their needs ahead of our own, we not only follow the example of Christ but also live our lives guided by his words.

Once again, using the example of weight loss, if we come together to meet and share, we are able to encourage one another and celebrate the loss of weight. If someone is having problems staying the course and experiencing moments of weakness, we encourage that person and offer more support.

We should be doing the same in our churches. We meet to build each other up spiritually and help when times are tough. There will be moments when the things of this world will beckon to us to return to our old ways. It is during those moments when we need to be encouraged and reminded. 

When we motivate and encourage others, they will do the same for us. When we, in harmony and love for one another work to imitate God and follow the example of Christ Jesus, we can truly and without doubt stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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