209: We All Need Spiritual Encouragers

During the centuries in which the nation of Israel was divided into two kingdoms (Israel to the north and Judah to the south), each realm had its own king. None of the kings of Israel led their nation to worship God. Only a handful of the kings of Judah promoted obedience to God. One such king of Judah was Hezekiah.

Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, was not a good role model. Following his dad’s death, Hezekiah ascended the throne. He continually sought to restore his nation to the worship of God. “Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.” (2 Kings 18:3)

During Hezekiah’s reign, Assyria was asserting itself as a world empire. After three years of laying siege to the northern capital of Samaria, Assyria took the nation of Israel captive. Feeling invincible, Assyria next considered attacking Jerusalem, the capital of Hezekiah’s realm.

Hezekiah’s attempts at diplomacy with Assyria failed. When the foreign army threatened to invade his city, Hezekiah sought God’s protection for his people. “When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord.” (2 Kings 19:1) The burden was great, so Hezekiah asked the prophet Isaiah to also pray that Jerusalem would survive. In response, God miraculously annihilated the Assyrian army. You can read the account in 2 Kings 19.

Even though Hezekiah had the reputation for trusting God, he sought the encouragement and help from a godly friend, Isaiah, a man he respected for his walk with God. No matter how spiritual you are, you need a Christian friend to encourage you and join with you in prayer. As Hezekiah led his nation, he relied on others to help him strengthen his faith in God.

The Northwest culture seems to romanticize an independent, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of mentality. However, the Christian life is not to be an isolated, independent type of life. The New Testament speaks of all Christ-followers as being part of the Body of Christ, some are ears, others are hands or feet. We are built to need one another. Guys need guy friends. Women need other gals who will stand with them in faith to trust God in their situations.

All of us need community, whether we are introverts or extroverts. Pastors are not immune to this need. Even the Apostle Paul was grateful for others who encouraged him. One such man was Onesiphorus (own-a-sif’-or-us). “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he OFTEN REFRESHED ME and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.” (2 Timothy 1:16–17) You were not made to walk this Christian life alone. Join a community group at your church. Strike up a relationship with someone you respect. Maybe ask them out for coffee. People need you, and you need them. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Marlon Furtado

I regularly went to church as a boy, but I was not exposed to the Gospel until I was nearly twenty years old. Hearing that God loved me in spite of my behavior was new to me. In response, I received Jesus Christ and became one of His followers on September 12, 1971. I practiced chiropractic for eight years before becoming a pastor from 1986 to 2018.