A Believer’s Toolbox

Sound Words graphicI’m no Mr. Fix-it, but I do have a variety of tools. I have learned (usually the hard way) that a job always goes more quickly and easily when I have (and use!) the right tool. Along these lines, I would submit to you that 1 Thessalonians 5:14 gives believers a “toolbox” of ways to deal with other believers.

Confront those who are out of line.
The first command Paul gives is to “warn them that are unruly.” When a fellow Christian is violating a biblical command or principle, you are obligated to address it. This command is not only for leadership, the extroverted, or aggressive personalities; every believer is commanded to take an active role in confronting other believers who are disobeying God’s Word. The goal in confronting a sinning brother is to restore him to obedience (Gal 6:1). The motive and manner of all confrontation is love (1 Cor 16:14). Confrontation is the right “tool” for a person who is out of line.

Encourage the fainthearted.
Second, we are commanded to “comfort the feebleminded.” When a brother in Christ has become discouraged about doing right, you are obligated to encourage him to press on. It’s easy enough to find many people who fall into this category. Focus their gaze on God’s faithfulness and not their problems. Encourage them to continue doing what is right, even when it doesn’t “pay” in this world (2 Cor 8:6–8; Gal 6:10).

Support the weak.
Third, we must “support the weak.” When a believer is struggling with a sin, problem, or issue, you are obligated to do everything you can to help him overcome it and go on for the Lord. Just as we would tape a sprained ankle or splint a broken bone, we must bear with those who are struggling (Rom 12:15; 15:1–3; Gal 6:2). The “weak” differ from those who are “out of line” in that they realize they are out of line. They know they have sinned and are grieved over it, but struggle to overcome it. We should help them obey God’s Word by pointing them to biblical solutions (2 Pet 1:3) and providing loving accountability.

Be patient with everybody.
Finally, we are commanded to “be patient toward all men.” Whenever you deal with others, you are obligated to be patient with them. Whether confronting, encouraging, or supporting, all your dealings must be marked by longsuffering. Patience, the converse of pride, is fueled by love (1 Tim 6:11), and stems from a keen remembrance of God’s grace to you (1 Tim 1:12–16).

When you interact with fellow believers, open this toolbox and use this verse to God’s glory and the church’s edification.

December 2007

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