Spiritual Gift Exhortation
Exhortation: A Spiritual Gift Definition
Exhortation is a spiritual gift used to challenge people to pursue their faith in Jesus Christ. So, the gifted Exhorter motivates both the corporate Church body, and its individual members, to live for Christ. Unfortunately, not everyone will appreciate Exhorters. This is because, in a way, Exhorters are much like Old Testament prophets. In both cases, they challenge God’s people to remain faithful. So, like prophets who often were not appreciated, and even persecuted, their service is still indispensable to the faith development of God’s people.
When people apply the gift of Exhortation, they cannot avoid conflict. It’s not that they enjoy conflict. In fact, they may greatly dislike it. Yet, Exhorters feel a God-given responsibility to correct people who stray from faith in Christ. In this line of thought, the Apostle Paul exhorts, “strengthen the disciples and to encourage them to remain true to the faith” (Acts 14:22). Likewise, in Act 11:23, Barnabas exhorts the people of Antioch to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Again, in 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul describes his ministry as “encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God….”
Make It Personal
Exhortation is expressed as a “personal appeal”, even when applied to a group. This is because groups are comprised of individuals. Accordingly, each individual is thus responsible for their own decisions and actions before God. When people use their gift, it may be received with humility or, on the other hand, with hostility and transference. In the latter case, they may charge that the Exhorter is being judgmental, critical, or harsh. For this reason, ensure that “how” you communicate does not get in the way of “what” God calls you to communicate. However, even when great care is taken, do not be surprised if people reject your message. Remember, it is the job of the Holy Spirit, and not you, to convict people of their sin.