...Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them
to continue in the faith, and saying that through many
tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
- Acts 14:22
Comfort. Consolation. Encouragement. Exhortation.
Exhortation is a unique spiritual gift. I overlooked it for a long time, simply because the word “exhortation” itself isn’t entirely self-explanatory. But by overlooking it, I was missing out on utilizing one of the strongest qualities God has given me.
You see, spiritual gifts are one of the most beautiful things that God could give us. Not only did He make us so unique and intricate to begin with, but when we believed in Him He equipped us with a perfect, custom made blend of these gifts so that we may best accomplish the plans that He designed for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10). Essentially, exhortation is the gift of encouragement. And saying out loud that you have the gift of encouragement may sound so simple. At least it did in my mind.
“Doesn’t everyone have the gift of encouragement?” I would ask myself. It’s just words, it can’t be a gift. I let these lies fill my mind when beginning to look deeper into my spiritual gifts. If I didn’t fully understand the gift God had given me, how on earth was I supposed to utilize it properly?
The gift of exhortation goes so much deeper than a handful of encouraging words that fall on the ears of others. This passage from Acts displays exhortation as the “strengthening of disciples’ souls,” of “encouraging them to continue in the faith.” The definition of exhortation is stated as this: “communication emphatically urging someone to do something.”
This walk in faith can be a difficult one. It’s not always easy and it’s not one that we were made to walk alone. It’s easy to become discouraged; to want to turn back and run from the things that God is calling us towards. No, exhortation isn’t just some encouraging words here and there spoken in passing, but rather it’s a way of life. It’s immersing yourself in community with other believers, walking alongside them on this journey and cheering them on wholeheartedly.
Exhortation radiates loyalty, reliability, and dedication. Having the gift of exhortation often makes it easy to jump into a situation with someone and be more than willing to see it through to its end. It’s loving people on purpose and having the desire to give, to uplift, and to simply encourage. It’s a gift that can be so incredibly easy to incorporate into everyday life, whether it’s with someone who’s a believer or not.
The beautiful thing about exhortation is that it can be displayed in so many different ways. When mixed with our other spiritual giftings, the possibilities for how you display your gift of encouragement are endless.
“Until I come, devote yourselves to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” - 1 Timothy 4:13 ESV.
Until our King returns, devote yourselves to exhortation. To being an example, a light in a dark world, and to fervently cheering one another on in this lifetime. Until He returns, be devoted.
1. Whether exhortation is your top spiritual gift or not, what does exhortation look like in your life? Where can you step in alongside others to be a greater encouragement?
2. If exhortation is one of your main gifts, how does this go along with your other spiritual gifts? How can you use them together to make the most of what God has given you?
Lord we praise You for making us all so intricately unique. Thank You for knowing exactly what we would need to accomplish the plans that You made for us long ago. Help us to become more aware of the gifts You’ve placed within us and to use them to chase after You. Help us to be the best encouragement we can be to others in this race that we’re running after You, Lord. Be our main encouragement — be our source. May we find our rest in You.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? CLICK HERE
Want to know more about the spiritual gift of Exhortation? Check out this RESOURCE from Shepherds of the Lost.