Are you a body builder?

Not long ago, one of my sisters voiced her regrets that she had lost her zeal toward the church and the Lord since she first became a Christian. She, like many others, had fallen into the category described in the book of Luke.
"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke 8:5-15).

No doubt there are others who have experienced the same decline in their love for the Lord. These may have fallen into the category of the church at Ephesus.
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Revelation 2:4-5).

Many do not feel themselves slipping away, and this is the most dangerous position to be in. What can we do to help these erring Christians? There may be words or actions which encourage us greatly along our pathway. Such were two recent Bible lesson for children by brother Mark McWhorter ("Why Be Fruitful in Old Age?" Volume 9, number 25 and "The Children Which Should Be Born" Volume 9, number 26 found at www.thebible.net/wisdom. These lessons for children should encourage all Christians everywhere to be a light to the world all their lives. Edification is the job of every Christian -- to encourage or build up the body of Christ to love and good works. We should seek to encourage our brothers and sisters every day -- even if that is the only thing we can do.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were given a charge to encourage their new leader in the work he had been assigned. Moses tells the people: "But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see" (Deuteronomy 3:28).

Esther was encouraged by Mordecai to do what she could to save the Jewish nation, her own people. "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14).

Today we have no less of an obligation to encourage the Lord's people in the work they have been assigned to do.

And of course one final admonition in the book of Revelation to all Christians for their encouragement and edification is:

Beth Johnson

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)