Stir Encouragement into Fellowship

Stir Encouragement into Fellowship~JeannieWaters.com

Butterflies danced the rumba in my stomach.

What will they think?

This may be embarrassing.

Do I even belong here?

Have thoughts like mine ever pestered you?

Two years ago, my friend, Robin Dance and I started a local chapter of Word Weavers International, a Christ-centered writing critique group. At the first meeting, I was excited until it was my turn.

As per Word Weavers guidelines, after someone read my words aloud, the group critiqued my writing. Old patterns of people-pleasing surfaced as I wondered what the responses would be. Although I sat among kind women, I felt vulnerable instead of thankful for help.

I breathed a sigh of relief when my turn ended. The group pointed out strengths in my writing I hadn’t noticed.

Great! I’ll keep using that technique.

They also made suggestions to correct or clarify my words.

Oh, I didn’t notice that. How much better the piece will be with their input. Thank you, Lord.

Now I see that as fellow group members highlight strengths and offer help for weak areas, we grow stronger as writers in a nurturing environment.  

Isn’t the purpose of Christian fellowship similar—to encourage fellow believers, thus strengthening our walk with Christ?

Not only does spending time with other Christ-followers kindle friendships and help protect us from Satan’s attacks (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), but it also provides a forum for giving and receiving encouragement and sharpening biblical insight. 

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another

Hebrews 10:24-25

Why is “stir up” paired with encouragement in this verse? In food preparation, utensils like spoons, whisks, and mixers incorporate air (think meringue peaks) and combine ingredients for palate-pleasing tastes and textures.

If a teaspoon of cinnamon remains at the bottom of a bowl filled with banana nut bread ingredients, the flavor will go undetected and the baked product won’t be as tasty. Stirring lifts that flavor and aroma to the top and gently blends it with others.

Christian friends can “lift” the gifts of others to the surface by pointing out strengths. They may even highlight opportunities for service while being cautious to suggest and not coerce.

Group members can also whisk in biblical wisdom and hope when challenges arise. A hand on the shoulder and the promise of prayer add sweetness to fellowship.

Consider the results of mixing encouragement into companionship. Individuals gain strength as they share Truth. Also, as each person sprinkles in unique ingredients of God-assigned gifts, the taste and fragrance of His love permeates the church and wafts outward to others.  

Has the spoon of Christian fellowship stirred you to love and good works? I had a lesson to learn before that could happen to me.

As a young adult, after years of wanting to be more like my friends Susan, Cynthia, and Connie, I learned that God wants me to identify and imitate the characteristics of Christ I see, not other people who display them.

Association with these ladies did, however, show me the error of some of my ways as well as provide pictures of gentleness, patience, and love. Spending time with dear friends led me to ask God to add those aspects of His character into my life.

How kind of God to institute the precious gift of Christian fellowship as a stirring tool for our good and His glory.

Would you join me as I evaluate my participation?

  • Do I engage in fellowship that prompts me to love and serve more faithfully?
  • Am I promoting love and good works in my circles of influence? Am I listening well to others as I seek to encourage them?
  • Which characteristics of Christ does my life reflect?

I do hope you’ll share today in the comment section.

  • How does spending time with other believers strengthen you?
  • How do you or how could you stir encouragement into Christian fellowship?

To read more about my friendship with Robin, click here Robin Dance. Please share the link with writers you know who may be interested in the information about Word Weavers International that Robin includes.

Bible verses are taken from the ESV.

15 thoughts on “Stir Encouragement into Fellowship

  1. We should, and must, stir up one another if we are to become one body of Christ my friend. Well said. It’s when we come together, each sharing our strengths, gifts, and means that we can become all that God intends for us to be. We must be individuals, but we must be individuals who will commit to helping one another. So very well said Ms. Jeannie. Thank you ma’am; and God’s blessings.

  2. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    J. D. I like the way you emphasized how important it is to help one another. Thank you for adding “It’s when we come together, each sharing our strengths, gifts, and means that we can become all that God intends for us to be.” Have a wonderful day!

  3. Oh, Jeannie…yes! In your signature style, you’ve given us a concrete word picture that ultimately points us to God. That may well be your super power! I love the action of stirring–lifting up and bringing together essential elements, for the greater good. Thank you for your sweet words to me, for sharing what you’ve learned, and living out your faith.

    I’m SO glad God brought you into my life! He is a GOOD gift giver! 😀

    xo

  4. Loved this post, Jeannie. You had my interest with dancing the rumba! Yes, stirring each other–sometimes in difficult conversations, but always in listening, encouragement, and love. I’ve gained perspective when in places of stirring-and also laughter. So many aspects to stirring-like the ingredients. I just don’t want to leave anyone in my group feeling like cinnamon at the bottom of the bowl. Thank you for a great read and challenge.

  5. You’re right, Marilyn, that some conversations are difficult, but as you remind us, even those can be filled with love and encouragement. I love your statement about cinnamon! Thank you.

  6. Iron sharpens iron is a great verse. It really explains how we are to be as Christian brothers and sisters.

    I am strengthened by spending time with other believers by sharing my struggles, prayer requests, and victories. At the same time hearing how God is working in those around me is also encouraging. To hear one another’s answered prayers helps the body of Christ.

    Thank you for your post!

  7. You’re right, Stephanie. God strengthens and encourages us in so many ways. Thank you for your comments.

  8. I am thankful to have loving friends and family that “stir” me to “attempt” to keep my mixture well-balanced. The harder question to analyze is, “What kind of friend am I to others?” You’ve challenged me to think, Jeannie, and to pray about encouraging others. Thank you.

  9. What a wonderful image. May we all have people to stir us up. I have a tendency to withdraw so I need to be intentional in seeking relationships of integrity. It’s so important we have people in our lives that will not only encourage us, but also bring weaknesses to our attention so we can grow.

  10. Because I love to bake, I love the image of “stirring in my own unique God-given gifts” to blend with others’ gifts to make a delicious final product! What a beautiful reminder of what the body of the church should look like! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I’m glad you identified with the post, Julie. You’re right that God has equipped the parts to work well together.

  12. Iron truly does sharpen iron. And you are right, we do need others as mirrors and guideposts as we go through life. If you don’t stir the ingredients, you’ll never get a cake. 🙂

  13. Kelly, I love the way you summarized this truth. “If you don’t stir the ingredients, you’ll never get a cake.” Thank you for commenting.

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