The church is filled with people who have different passions and interests. Christ designed His body to function this way by supplying various spiritual gifts by which His work is accomplished. Yet sometimes these differences can lead to misunderstandings because we each see through the lens of our own gifts.
Exhortation is one of those spiritual gifts that can be misconstrued. People with this gifting may use strong words to urge fellow believers toward spiritual maturity. Sometimes this involves identifying foundational problems like pride, selfishness, or a desire for control and prescribing corrective steps based on biblical principles. Other times, exhortation may include an explanation of the blessings of obeying the Lord as well as warnings about the consequences of disobedience.
You may have noticed this gift is often given to pastors who regularly exhort God’s people from the pulpit, but there are also individuals in the congregation who may have this spiritual gift. As Christians, we need to hear the truth about ourselves and how we are living, yet sometimes we may be resistant. Perhaps we think the exhorter has oversimplified our situation or is trying to “help” God out. Or maybe the way in which the advice is given strikes us as overconfident. At other times, we may question how Scripture is applied or doubt the genuineness of the one who exhorts us.
Although we should always compare what we hear with God’s Word, we must not reject correction simply because we don’t want to hear it. Wisdom comes with careful consideration of counsel as we hold firmly to the Word.