Dr. Stephen Phinney
OCCUPATIONAL GIFTS | EXHORTATION
Those of us who do counseling are blessed with the gift of Exhortation. Although, many who encourage others would not call themselves counselors.
People with the gift of exhortation address or communicate emphatically, urging someone to do things or take action. Meaning they motivate others to take action on the Holy Words of God. Without this motive, the gift slips into passive encouragement. Passive encouragement builds selfish people. True exhorters have a God-sized ability to address strongholds that block the release of the Spirit. On the other hand, passive encouragers make the “other” feel better about their lives, frequently ignoring the fleshly sins that cause discouragement.
The Greek word translated “exhortation” (paraklesis) signifies, originally, “a calling near” (as an advocate or helper who should appeal on one’s behalf). The organic definition is to draw another to oneself to minister the Truth. The worldly view of this dynamic ability is to draw another close to you for a friendship. Using paraklesis without actions of Truth violates Scripture.
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Let’s face it. We live in a world based on friendships. Many modern-day exhorters believe you first must make another a friend before you can administer absolutes of the Holy Word. This is the opposite of the Truth. The authentic Exhortation found in the Word of God is a pleading or urging intended to persuade, inspire, or encourage another to listen to words of Truth while resulting itself in actions. Exhortation is NOT about friendships. Rather, it is to draw others into a fulfilling life in Christ through an authentic born-again experience. As for the struggling believers, it is to refocus their attention on the indwelling Life of Christ.
Therefore, those who use Exhortation without the mandate of evangelism, correction, or reproof assist others in depending upon self-effort – which results in directing the “other” away from the Lord. Lukewarm believers are usually the ones guilty of this misnomer.
This gift gives special abilities to minister God’s words of comfort, encouragement (to put courage into), confrontations, and clarifications on revelations from prophets, teachers, preachers, and evangelists.
Prophets tell the Truth, teachers clarify the Truth, and exhorters tell you what to do with the Truth. Each has a supernatural ability to confront people with love. They usually are very practical and life application oriented. They bless people with a keen sense of care and concern.
Like (Barnabas), the Exhorter loves ministering with people right where they are and molding them into an instrument of the Lord. The Exhorter can work with strangers, but pastors typically have a harder time with this unless they are blessed with Exhortation as an extra gift. Barnabas in the Bible is a great example of this (Acts 4:36).
All Christians have been ordered to exhort one another, but Exhorters have a special ability to do it well (Heb. 3:13). Exhorters have a wonderful ability to communicate using the supernatural insights given to them by God and make use of manifestations of Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom.
This person is the ideal person working in the church discipleship center. These Christians have a strong sense to help the church grow and often times struggles between leaving the “work world” and joining “full-time ministry”. They often end up with jobs like acting, sales, community relations, promotions, and like-minded jobs as an occupation.
This gift is often confused with the gift of pastoring. It is primarily a one-on-one gift. They love encouraging people around them. They are compelled to give advice, lead people to the Word of God, and provide confrontations when needed. Many onlookers see them as “counselors.” However, their abilities go far beyond counselors.
An exhorter can become “wired” or “hyper” about what they believe. They can be overly optimistic in presenting their ideas. They can be stubborn, believing their own way is the only way to help others. Most are diligent in following discipleship models or are quick to design and write their own.