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Exhortation

I notice everything. Things others don’t see stick out to me like a sore thumb. Sometimes I wish I didn’t because most of the time there’s nothing I can do. Most of the time the person who I’ve noticed things about doesn’t even notice it themselves. They can be in denial or are justifying it somehow. I’ve become aware this may be a gift, actually, and that maybe I just haven’t figured out how to properly use It yet. 

I’ve done some reading on spiritual gifts lately and it appears to be the gift of exhortation. I’m good with the lifting up and encouraging of friends because who doesn’t love to do that? But challenging or rebuking?

I’ve often had friends tell me before that I “just know” things. There’s times when a person is laid on my heart and praying for them isn’t enough for me to feel at peace over it. I seek them out and just tell them I love them but inevitably I end up giving advice. God has used me in people’s lives, sometimes even people I don't know very well. My pitfall is feeling I should be able to save them or fix it somehow in that moment. I have to learn to say I don't have all the answers but I know the one who does. I have finally learned that simply pointing them to their real Savior is my role here. He gets the glory, not me.

I want to be liked of course, everyone does, but I have to continually get over that. There’s many times I’ve tried to “speak the truth in love” and that person definitely did NOT want to hear it. It’s a practice of being honest when asked but shutting my mouth when not asked. If they don’t want to hear it they’ll stop asking I figure. But this is not always the case. I have said too much at times of this I am sure. It’s not that they thought I would lie to them (most people know that I won’t) it’s because they really hold tight to “their truth” and since I love them I must agree with them or I must not love them after all. People don’t always understand that as a believer it actually does make sense to love people you don’t agree with.

The other dilemma comes from believers that aren’t living in truth. Deep down they know and it’s making them miserable but they aren’t ready to receive it. This is a good time to practice that whole not being liked thing because they definitely aren’t going to like you. The most important thing to remember I think is that God’s timing is everything. He is not rushed or frantic because He has it all worked out already. Trust in Him and you don’t have to worry so much. Pray for them faithfully and trust Him to move. He can do more in their hearts in a second that you could do in a million perfectly written lectures.

A side note to that is that believers also don’t like to be reminded unless it is in the right time & context or say, you’re their pastor. And some, not even then. Again, more practice here. Reminding others of what they already know is a big part of exhortation. They may feel the need to interrupt, act irritated or say “I KNOW” but their response is not how my obedience is measured. Exhorting is. Am I prayerfully considering how to handle every opportunity God places in front of me and trusting Him to give me the words?

It goes back to being surrendered to Jesus and giving up my own life. Not what Shannon would say or what Shannon would do but learning to truly listen for God’s voice and leading. A beautiful God-fearing woman once said that Christians are just beggars telling other beggars where to find food. Yes, girl. Viewing ourselves rightly, with humility, is a must to being used by God. Pride & ego wreck everything.

It’s when we begin to recognize our pride and how great it is that we become even more surrendered. It takes a lot of dependance, time in the word, in prayer, in HIs presence to battle against it. This means “forfeiting our right to be offended by others.” I just so happen to be reading Unoffendable right now (I don’t believe in coincidences just FYI, but in His design.)
"When we do this, we’ll be making a sacrifice that’s very pleasing to God. It strikes at our very pride. It forces us not only to think about humility, but to actually be humble."
Oh that we would be humble, my friends. That we might hear His voice everywhere. That we might actually receive it, submit and follow. It is the answer we’re all looking for and it changes us..which changes everything.


Wonder if your spiritual gift might be exhortation? Find more here: 

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