The Motivational Gift of Exhortation
Biblical Examples: Paul and Barnabus
An exhortation is a message of warning or encouragement designed to motivate persons to action.
The Spirit-given desire and capacity to encourage, motivate, challenge, and strengthen others in the faith, to confront them with their behavior and to challenge or advise them in conforming to the will, Person, and Word of God.
The ability to motivate people to grow by identifying their needs and guiding them in biblical truth toward meaningful maturity.
The divine enablement to present truth so as to strengthen, comfort, or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith.
Exhorters . . . inspire others to action
awaken renewed spiritual interest
steady the struggling, stressed, or fatigued
not been for Barnabus and his gift of exhortation, we might be missing ½ of
the NT books! (14)
- He helped needy saints (Acts 2:36-37).
- He endorsed an unwelcome convert (Acts 9:26-27).
- He accepted alien believers (Acts 11:22-24).
- He enlisted a promising teacher (Acts 11:25-26).
- He developed a gifted assistant (Acts 12:25; 13:1-2,13,42,46; 14:1).
- He restored a youthful deserter (Acts 15:39).
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EXHORTER:
1. Encourage others to their full spiritual potential.
2. Ability to discern where a person is in his spiritual life and speak on that level.
3. Desire to give practical steps of action towards spiritual maturity.
4. Drive to explain truth with logical reasoning so others will believe.
5. Ability to visualize specific achievements and motivate others to action.
6. Desire to have face to face discussions to insure a positive response.
7. Ability to identify with people of different backgrounds in order to gain a wider hearing.
8. Motivation to bring harmony between different groups of Christians.
9. Ability to welcome personal tribulation as a help toward spiritual growth.
10. Asks lots of questions to discern what God is doing in your life.
11. Gives precise instructions about how a person might grow in relationship with Christ.
12. Often has learned the value of suffering.
13. Is concerned with the application of Gods’ Word.
14. May see potential in individuals who have failed or are young in the faith.
15. Wants to get to the root of the problem and can often discern what that is.
16. Interested in the steps and processes to help someone go forward.
CAUTIONS FOR THOSE WITH EXHORTATION:
1. Tendency to interrupt others in an attempt to give advice.
2. May be too cut and dry.
3. May think you have all the answers.
4. You may become too easily discouraged when other people don’t encourage you.
5. Remember to always point people to Jesus Christ in your exhortation.
MISUSES AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF THIS GIFT/PERSON:
1. Raising expectations of others prematurely.
2. Takes family time to counsel others.
3. Treating family and friends as projects instead of people.
4. Sharing private illustrations without permission.
5. Jumping into new projects without finishing the old ones.
6. Encouraging others to depend on them instead of God.
7. Trusting visible results instead of a true change of heart.
8. Neglect proper emphasis on basic biblical doctrine.
9. Giving counsel before knowing the person and the problem.
10. Becoming too easily discouraged when other people don’t encourage you.
7 TRAITS OF EXHORTER IN THE SPIRIT AND IN THE FLESH
Jesus related positively to people as an exhorter:
The woman at the well
The woman caught in adultery
The only people he related to negatively were the religious people with hardened hearts!
2. Discernment / Judgmental
3. Faith / Presumption
4. Discretion / Simplistic
5. Love / Selfish
6. Creative / Under-achiever
7. Enthusiasm / Apathy
Are you concerned about correcting error wherever and whenever you find it? Do you care deeply that those who are about to make mistakes avoid them, and that those who have made mistakes repent of their ways and return to a walk of righteousness before God? You may be a person who has been given the motivational gift of exhortation.
One of the key biblical figures who exemplifies the gift of exhortation is the apostle Paul. Here is the heart of Paul's motivation for ministry: “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Col.1:28-29).
The word "warning" in this passage has also been translated as "admonishing" or "exhorting." Exhortation always has element of caution and concern about it. The exhorter desires to see every believer stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to both heavenly and earthly rewards.
- Charles Stanley