By: Allie Joy Hudson
3 min. read
Exhortation – a High Call
I love the challenge that the author of Hebrews gives to his readers (and to us today). Hebrews 10:24 tells us, “and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds.”
The word that this short verse brings to my mind is exhortation. As Christians, exhortation is an important calling that we have on our lives. We are to build one another up and challenge one another in love.
Two weeks ago, we started a series talking about the relationship between sexual integrity and discipleship. Jesus’ command to “make disciples” has many layers to it, and the layer I want to talk about today is “exhortation.”
In our hyper-individualized culture, it’s easy and comfortable for us to let people do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t impact us. It’s also easy for us to crash and burn in silence, without people even knowing we are hurting. Exhortation is the resource Jesus gives us so we can be present with each other in our pain and in our sin. Here’s what I mean:
We need to be there for each other. We can’t fight to honor God with our bodies, minds, and hearts in isolation. It’s critical to find someone we trust to walk through our struggles and practice exhortation with.
When I think about sexual integrity and exhortation, I immediately think about my mentor, Kaycee. I needed her balance of overwhelming grace and important truth in the season when my husband and I were engaged and were striving to honor our physical boundaries. (I still need it now.) Kaycee cemented in my mind what it looks like to disciple one another well, specifically in the sexual realm.
Sex, Truth, and the Adulterous Woman
What does it look like to exhort a brother or sister in Christ well when it comes to the topic of sex? Here are some things I learned from Kaycee about exhortation that I strive to use with every woman I disciple. I challenge you to try them out too:
- Call out what is good. If the person you are discipling is doing something well (maybe they installed Covenant Eyes software on their devices, ended an unhealthy relationship, or wrote out a boundary list), let them know! Positive words of encouragement can have such a powerful impact in reinforcing behavior.
- When your discipleship partner comes to you and tells you about a slip-up, your response is huge! Encourage them to go before Jesus in prayer about what happened. Remind them that Jesus extends forgiveness and grace. And charge them to get up and keep battling. This reminds me of Jesus’ words to the woman caught in the act of adultery. He doesn’t make light of her sin, yet He doesn’t disgrace her. He says, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’”
- Proclaim truth over your friend. Sexual sin can create so much shame in us, shame that Satan loves to use as leverage so he can plant lies in our minds. We need to hear what is true to ground us and give us strength. Jesus loves you. He died for all of the ways you have failed. He wants you to know purity and victory. Through His strength, these things are possible. His grace is abundant!
Jesus calls us to, in His love, practice exhortation with each other. We need encouragement, kindness, and reminders of truth as we battle lust, lies, shame, and secrecy. Today, I challenge you to find a partner to walk through your (and your partner’s) struggles with. And work to listen to, build up, exhort, and point each other to Christ.
This is something Jesus wants for us, and He will give us the strength, heart, and grace to do it.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven Men for two and a half years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.