2 Cor. 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. (NIV)
Proverbs 16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
**Don’t Lord it over others with your faith (i.e. you are not a better Christian that they because you’ve been one longer), but joyfully help them build their faith because both of you can stand firm by your faith. Uplift and support others in their faith journey.
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-20 The story of Eli the Priest and Samuel. Eli supports Samuel’s growth in God and builds up Samuel’s faith, and understanding of God. Despite the fact that Eli is no longer in good standing with God because he did not discipline of his own children. God still trusted Eli to bring up Samuel to love and know God because God didn’t have any issues with Eli’s faith, just his failure as a parent. Eli could have “lorded it over Samuel” by virtue of Samuel’s just being “only a boy”, and Eli being a priest of God. However, Eli did his best to be obedient and encourage Samuel in his knowledge of God. Eli was human and made the very human mistake of letting his sons go undisciplined and behave badly, and God laid out the consequences to Eli for this mistake. God still loved Eli regardless of his mistake. God would have forgiven Eli’s sons also, but they did not ask for forgiveness. They were not sorry for their actions. Eli’s faith helped to build Samuel’s faith.
If you think of what it would be like to run a three legged race with someone the basic of being successful is that you have to work together with the person you are tied up with. This is a good example of how we are to work together and encourage each other as Christians, we are all part of one body. The church members being the body, and Jesus Christ being the head. (Romans 12:4-5). If we are at odds with each other, or under cutting another person’s self esteem, then we will not successfully be able to be the body of Christ. We won’t be attractive in the eyes of others who may be watching to see “what the difference” is between being a Christian and not being a Christian. Everyone could tell that Jesus was different, so if as a Christian we are supposed to be the body of Christ then people around us should be able to tell that we are different from non-Christians through how we treat each other, and how we treat non-Christians. We should be loving, encouraging, and uplifting and willing to say that we are wrong to others whenever we are wrong and apologize when need be.
Remember that the goal of Christianity is to (once you have accepted your own salvation and become Christian) help bring others to salvation also. How you treat people on a day to day basis will have an impact on how fruitful your work for the Lord is able to be. The Holy Spirit is in charge of actually doing the conversion of the person’s heart, but serving the Lord in relationship with others gives you the opportunity to partake in someone else’s salvation. Though you may never actually see what your impact is in another person’s life to that end, sometimes God does allow you to know your impact. In those cases it is a beautiful blessing to attend the celebration with God.
I would like to challenge you to make or buy some greeting cards with encouraging verses on them. If you have children have them help you to make the cards this will show them how to put their faith in action. I have included some encouraging verses here for you and to help you with the cards you may choose to send. Send the cards to people you haven’t seen in a while, or you know that are going through a tough time and might need some encouragement. Sometimes, just a card from someone can really make their day. Especially if the person is feeling alone.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.
Proverbs 16:20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
Phillipians 4:13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful.
Proverbs 22:9 He that has a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he gives his bread to the poor.
Psalm 67:1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us.
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear.
Psalm 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.