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As Christians, we are not called to live our lives in isolation. We are called to live in community, to support and encourage one another in our faith. The Bible tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Encouragement is a powerful tool that brings hope. Throughout the Bible, we see examples of individuals who were encouraged by others, as well as those who lived a life of encouragement.
A critical spirit is an attitude that is characterized by a faultfinding, negative, and judgmental attitude towards others. It is an attitude that is not only detrimental to the person who possesses it but especially to the people around them.
As Christians, we are called to be encouragers. Encouragement can be defined as the act of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
One of the most famous examples of encouragement in the Bible is found in the book of Joshua. After the death of Moses, God called Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. God gave Joshua specific instructions and promised to be with him wherever he went. But still, Joshua was likely feeling overwhelmed and unsure of himself. That’s when God spoke these encouraging words:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).
Another well-known example of encouragement is found in the book of Acts. In Acts 4:36-37, we read about a man named Joseph, who was also known as Barnabas. He was a Levite from Cyprus who sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles. This act of generosity and encouragement was so powerful that the apostles gave him the nickname “Barnabas,” which means “son of encouragement.” Barnabas continued to live a life of encouragement throughout his ministry. He encouraged Paul when others were suspicious of him, and he encouraged the church in Antioch by preaching the gospel and strengthening the believers there. Barnabas was a true encourager, and his life had a profound impact on those around him.
Encouragement is not just a nice thing to do, but it is a vital part of our Christian walk.
When we encourage one another, we bring hope and strength to those who are struggling. We lift each other up and remind one another of the promises of God.
Encouragement brings hope in Jesus Christ. When we encourage others, we are pointing them towards the source of all hope and strength. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Encouragement is a powerful weapon against sin and temptation, and it helps us to stay focused on Jesus Christ our Lord.
Encouragement brings hope in Jesus Christ because it reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles. When we face difficult situations, it can be easy to feel discouraged and hopeless. But when someone comes alongside us and offers words of support and encouragement, it can make all the difference. We are reminded that God is with us and that we have a community of believers who care about us
A Critical Spirit.
On the other hand, a critical spirit is negative and destructive. It focuses on the faults and shortcomings of others rather than seeking to help them grow and improve. It is quick to criticize and slow to encourage. The Bible warns us against such an attitude in Matthew 7:3-5, where Jesus says,
"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
Having a critical spirit is a common issue that many Christians struggle with. It is easy to fall into the trap of being overly critical and judgmental towards others, especially when we feel passionate about certain issues or beliefs. However, the Bible warns us against having a critical spirit and encourages us to be discerning without being condemning.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the apostle Paul teaches us that love is patient, kind, and does not keep a record of wrongs. A critical spirit, on the other hand, is quick to judge and point out the faults of others. It does not show love, but rather negativity and criticism. This kind of attitude can be discouraging and even hurtful to those around us.
Hebrews 10:24-25 instructs us to encourage one another and spur one another on towards love and good deeds. When we have a critical spirit, we are not fulfilling this biblical command. Instead of encouraging others, we are tearing them down with our criticism. We are not spurring them on towards love and good deeds, but rather hindering their growth and progress.
A critical spirit negates encouragement. We become quick to criticize and slow to encourage, and this can have a demotivating effect on those around us.
Am I Being Discerning or Critical?
To answer the question, “Am I Being Discerning or Critical?” we need to look to the Bible for guidance. Discernment is an essential quality for Christians to possess. It is the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 to “test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” Discernment involves a careful evaluation of what we see and hear, and the application of biblical principles to the situation. It is a positive and constructive attitude that seeks to build up rather than tear down. It is not judgmental, but rather seeks to bring correction and restoration.
So, how can we discern whether we are being discerning or critical? The Bible tells us to examine ourselves and our motives. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” If our hearts are filled with concern and a desire to help others grow in their faith, then our discernment will be motivated by those same things. However, if our hearts are filled with pride, envy, or judgment, then our discernment will be tainted by those negative emotions.
We can also, always look to Jesus as our example. Christ was discerning without being critical. He saw the sins and flaws of those around Him. He showed them love and compassion, calling and encouraging them to repent and turn towards God.
A Biblical encourager, like Jesus, never encourages sin or approves of sin.
When Christians lose hope, they can become discouraged and disillusioned. This can lead to a loss of faith and a sense of hopelessness. That’s why it’s so important for us as believers to encourage one another. We need to remind each other of the hope we have in Christ and help each other to stay focused on Him.
When we lose hope, we can become discouraged and feel like giving up. This is why it is so important to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us in our faith. Without encouragement, we can easily fall into despair and lose sight of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Encouragement is so important. It helps us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to remember that He alone is the source of our hope. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”
God is the Great Encourager.
God is the great encourager because He knows our weaknesses and our struggles. He understands the difficulties we face in this life, and He offers us words of comfort and hope.
Throughout the Bible, we see how God encourages His people and reminds them of His promises. In Isaiah 41:10, God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God knows that we need encouragement to keep growing in our faith and our Christian walk. He knows that we will face trials and challenges, and He wants us to know that He is with us every step of the way. God is always with us, and He is always ready to encourage and strengthen us.
As Christians, we are called to be encouragers.
We are called to lift each other up and remind one another of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. When we encourage one another, we bring hope and strength to those who are struggling. And when we lose hope, we can turn to God, who is the great encourager, and find comfort in His promises.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to be encouragers.
Christians have a responsibility to look for opportunities to support and uplift those around us, just as God has done for us. When we offer words of encouragement, we strengthen hope in Jesus Christ and remind others that they are not alone in their struggles.
As Christians, we are called to be encouraging examples.
We need to follow the example of Barnabas and King David and live a life of encouragement. Encouragement brings hope in Jesus Christ, and it helps us to stay focused on Him. And we can take comfort in the fact that God is the Great Encourager, and He is always with us, ready to strengthen and help us.
Having a critical spirit is a serious issue that can hinder our relationships with others and our growth in Christ. As Christians, we are called to be discerning without being condemning, and to encourage one another towards love and good deeds. By examining our hearts and motives, and looking to Jesus as our example, we can overcome a critical spirit and become more loving, compassionate, and encouraging towards those around us.
Be discerning, encouraging other Christians without a critical spirit.