To exhort means to address or communicate emphatically urging someone to do something. Exhortation is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Gifts of the spirit are talked about in 1 Corinthians 12 and are used for the build-up of the Church. That means that exhortation should only be edifying, uplifting, and encouraging! This is true because gifts of the Holy Spirit should only be exercised through LOVE because they are from God directly.
When giving someone a word of encouragement aka using the gift of exhortation, there are a few things to remember. You should always point others to Jesus – your words should be focused upward (to God). Your words should leave the person receiving your exhortation with a better understanding of who God is. And lastly, your words should always honor God and honor the person receiving.
Biblically, Paul was the person who walked in the gift of exhortation most often. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul commands Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” Though exhort is mentioned here with reprove and rebuke (scary words to me), Paul reminds us to do all of these with patience and teaching (aka wisdom).
Lord, I ask that You would teach us how to be a people who better build-up Your Church. That we would be a people who choose to love the people in front of us to the best of our ability and that we would do that by encouraging, edifying, and uplifting them. We want to be a people who honor You forever and forever, and we ask that You would come and help us do that. Amen.
- Allison Peden