– G.K. Chesterton
To exhort means to admonish or urge someone to do something. In the Greek it means to incite to action. The author of Hebrews wrote that we should “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). But what was this exhortation about? The Apostle Paul says, “We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). This is not just for the lay members because Paul tells Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
The word “edify” comes from the word “edifice,” like the edifice or front wall of a building, so it can mean “building up.” However, in the biblical context, to edify someone means to instruct, improve, or benefit. When we speak with people, we can build them up, not into a false sense of security or flatter them. Every one of us has some redeeming values; so when you find values in others, tell them about them. Encourage them, exhort them, and admonish them. “Build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11b).
Basically, the word “encourage” means to give support, confidence, or hope to someone and comes from the old French word “encoragier,” which means to make strong or to hearten. This serves to inspire someone to do even more or to persevere through difficulties. Don’t we need more of that? Doesn’t the world desperately need this? If you watch the news, it seems they’re more interested in tearing down than building up. Let us be salt and light in a dead and decaying world and be “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
I like to call these the “Three ‘E’migos” because they are all for one and one for all; all of us, that is. At least that’s what we should be doing to others. Let us exhort one another to good works; let us edify others by building them up; and let us encourage one another because we’ll need it, too, as the day of Jesus’ return approaches. Whatever kind word we can say should be said. Whatever kind act can be done, we should do. Whatever makes people feel good, we should help them.