Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
Our society appears to be built on just the opposite of this scripture. Most indicators reveal that we are obsessed with encouraging ourselves. We strive to build ourselves up with wealth, possessions, power, reputation and self-esteem.
We are thrilled when we are successful, and create measurements of success. We have trained ourselves to measure how many “likes” we get, and are devastated when someone “unfriends” us or tweets about us in a negative way. We also have the power to become reviewers of others, and if one little thing goes wrong we post a review.
This all creates a dynamic where the measures of our lives are placed in contrast or comparison to others. If they are poor, we feel better about our situation. If they are rich, we either desire to be them or envy them which leads to resentment. If house is bigger and better, we strive to do the same. Sometimes we even try to out serve somebody out of pride, or because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
Paul reminds the church that faithful people are called to be encouragers of others. The encouragement, if done all around, creates a feedback loop of love that encourages us all. As we build others up, the community is built up. Ultimately, we will by built up.
The covenant that God made with the ancients, and makes with us now, is one that starts with him; He loves and encourages us. Then he wants us to love and encourage others, and in doing so we love him back.
Jesus final directions to his disciples before he gave up his life was the words, “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
My friends, you are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.