“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
This verse begs a few questions. First, explicitly: why in the “therefore” and secondly what are encouraging, what are we building up in one another?
Verses 8-10 answer both questions:
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
In other words, because Christ has died for us so we might live in him, we should encourage one another to avoid drunkenness (probably figurative as well as literal) and to help each other grow secure and safe in faith, in God’s love, and hope (especially in God’s salvation). If God has not destined us for wrath, but salvation, also implicit is to encourage godliness and to encourage one another away from paths of destruction that lead to separation from both God and man. But we must not forget that word “sober” which, besides not drunk, also means a quiet, steady attitude, unhurried, calm, moderation, subdued, rather than being excessively emotional.
For those of us who have the greatest desire to encourage, maintaining that calm, quiet spirit and demeanor while we do so can often require a supernatural grace greater than ourselves.
Lord, give us wisdom to know how we can best encourage our friends and loved ones in their faith and their walk with you. We ask for grace and mercy to abound to us so it overflows from our hearts onto all around us. Let your peace and calm color all of our communications today. Wrap your arms around us and our loved ones and hold us secure in you this day.