Thursday, January 15, 2015

“Enlightenment, Encouragement, Exhortation"

    In praying for others and for myself, I often ask our Heavenly Father to "enlighten, encourage, and exhort."

    "I make mention of you in my prayers… that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened" (Ephesians 1:15; 17-18).
    "Edify one another" (I Thessalonians 5:11).
    "Exhort one another daily" (Hebrews 3:13).

    First, we must receive growing enlightenment regarding the Lord and His truth.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ births relationship with an infinite God, the glory of whom we shall never fully plumb the depths or ascend to the summit.  "His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3).  Growth in both living experience and doctrinal understanding always awaits us.  The Apostle Paul declared that we know nothing yet as we ought to know (I Corinthians 8:2).  Thus, our Father ever seeks to illuminate our hearts more brightly with Himself and His truth.  Moreover, the Apostle Peter calls us to increasing maturity, based on increasing awareness and understanding - "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).

   In the splendor of such intensifying light, we find great encouragement.  "Consider Him... lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:3).  A fresh glimpse of the Lord Jesus always builds us up when we see Him more clearly in His Word, or by His Spirit's working in our lives, or in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  The consistently encouraged Christian always coincides with the consistently faithful Christian.  We seek the strengthening of each other and ourselves that proceeds from the light of God revealing the person and work of the Lord Jesus.  "Beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 1:20-21).

    Finally, we require challenge.  Scripture ever beckons us to come further, climb higher, dive deeper, and venture outward and away from ourselves unto God and others.  The Lord does not coddle us.  Indeed, at times when we may feel the greatest need for resting on our laurels, as it were, our Heavenly Father may press us to get up and get going.  Such faithfulness results from "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," and by the challenging remembrance that the Spirit of our Savior equips us for every journey, ascent, dive, and adventure (Hebrews 12:2).  "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48).

    Enlightenment, encouragement, and exhortation - we continually require all three aspects of God's working in our lives as He reveals to us the Lord Jesus, strengthening us for the journey, and commanding that we come further, climb higher, dive deeper, and venture outward and away from ourselves unto God and others.  

"We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more."
(I Thessalonians 4:1)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
(Ephesians 5:11)

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