When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23
When something major changes, most people want to go back to the old way of things. They do not always want to accept and embrace the change, even if it is a good change.
One of the ways they stay with the old is they keep talking about the old ways, rather than moving forward. This can occur when a person changes for the good, they keep remembering the person’s past.
The church in Jerusalem heard that the Gentiles in Antioch had become believers. They sent Barnabas to verify what had happened. When he saw what God had done he encouraged the new believers to remain true to the Lord with all of their hearts.
Some believers in the church can sometimes be the worst critics of new believers. Just as the Jewish people could not believe that a Gentile could be saved by God, believers today often believe certain people cannot really be saved because of their past. Instead of encouraging the new believers, they cut them down.
Every believer has some faults with sin, however, that does not mean he is not trying to serve and love God with all of his heart. Instead of the church pushing against the believer, he should encourage him to remain true to God all the more and more as He grows in God.
Encouragement can often be the key that gives a person strength to continue to walk with God. It will create a change of focus from the problems of life to God and His life. Life has enough problems and struggles to not have more added by those in the church.
Just as you need encouragement to keep moving forward with God, so others need encouragement. As you see new believers, give them encouragement, rather than judgement.
Show them ways in which you have learned to walk closer to God. Give them stories of how God has helped you make it. Talk about how being faithful to God has strengthened you all the more when you have seen God fulfilling His promises in your life.
Be the one who will encourage new believers in the walk with God, rather than the discourager.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will see how God has strengthened you; that you will share how God has helped you with others; that you will encourage others in their walk with God; and that you will be true to the Lord with all of your heart.