even disciples need encouragement

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Category : Acts, Paul, bible, faith, hope

  

Have you ever met someone who was totally confident of their faith?  Someone through whom God really worked?  These are the people who always look “put together” and “with it” when it comes to their trust in God.  They trust God with everything in their lives. 

What do you think when you see them?

Whenever I look at someone who has these traits I often think they must have it pretty easy.  I mean they don’t have to struggle with their faith, or wonder why things aren’t happening the way they expected.  After all, they get to see God act in visible ways all the time.  (Usually because they are on the front lines doing radical things for God)  

I start comparing how they appear, to how I am.  I see their steadfast belief and their determination to follow God.  Then I look at my own life and a lot of the time all I can see is my roller coaster of ups and downs. 

But is that really how things are?

Paul made it a regular habit to go back to communities he’d set up to encourage them.  He knew that no matter what they saw, no matter what they experienced, they still needed to be reminded of just who God is.  

He went back to cities like Antioch and Lystra (where he was nearly killed by a mob) just so he could “strength[en] the souls of the disciples and encourag[e] them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:21-22).

Apparently even the disciples needed encouragement.

Paul wasn’t always on the giving end of encouragement though.  Sometimes he was the one who needed encouragement.  Towards the end of his life, while in jail, everyone abandoned Paul.  I can’t imagine what that would feel like to have lived so much for other people, and then when you needed a friend – they all ran away. But that’s where Paul found himself.  (Which, by the way, is also where Jesus found himself)

It’s hard to remind myself that even people like Paul need encouragement.  But it’s true.  In fact, every single Christian, who has ever lived, has needed encouragement at one time or another.  Which means I’m not alone in needing it.

I’d like to think that the next time I am feeling guilty about my waning faith, instead of turning from God out of shame, I turn to him.

Because even disciples need encouragement.

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