Early in my Christian walk I found myself having to separate my self from friends I had run with before I became a believer. And for several years I surrounded myself with Christian brothers and sisters in the Lord to help me with my testimony and my Christian character. I truly did appreciate the accountability and love that we shown to each other as we walked out our faith with integrity of character. But as it usually happens one night some friends from my past called asking if I would go with them to town to the festival, they where very gracious in letting me know that they would not be drinking, so I accepted their invitation and I really did miss these guys whom I had grown up with. It all started out innocently enough but what I didn’t realize was the incredible pull and power of the lust of the flesh and the spirit of this age drawing me into my old mind set. As it so happened, we met up with some girls at the festival, we started talking and making arrangements to go out with them later on, when out of the blue, some of the girls from my church showed up. I remember so well my humiliation as the girls challenged me to stay pure and not damage my Christian walk – right in front of my friends! Now I didn’t get offensive, thank goodness. On the contrary, I truly did appreciate their admonishment in love.
Colossians 3:16 (New International Version)
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
What does it mean?
The Greek word for “admonish” literally means “to set right, correct, warn, and lay on the heart of someone.” Admonish one another is a confrontational command, intending to challenge or correct someone.
To admonish means to help someone who is out of step with the Spirit to get back in line. Notice that admonish is linked to teaching and wisdom, admonishment must always be guided by “the Word of God.” Admonishment calls back the believer who has drifted off the Spirit’s path. Praise God when a believer receives admonishment in love and makes the necessary changes.
All Christians should be willing and able to admonish as well as encourage. In Rom. 15:14 notice that Paul is confident that all of the Christians in Rome can admonish one another—not just the leadership. He has never been in Rome to train them, yet he is confident of this! Notice also two qualities that he says enable them to admonish effectively:
Rom. 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another.
“Goodness” – This obviously doesn’t mean moral perfection, but rather good will—loving concern for one another’s well-being (which any of us can have with the help of the Holy Spirit) vs. lack of concern, delight in another’s failure, etc.
“Knowledge” – This has nothing to do with having a high IQ or a professional degree, but knowledge of God’s Word which provides objective, absolute moral guidance vs. personal opinion, current secular wisdom, etc.
Sadly, in our pluralistic, postmodern age, even gracious admonishment is often viewed as negative and critical. Admonishment is considered unnecessary, unwanted, and down-right mean-spirited in a relativistic age. To spend even a small fraction of time admonishing against false teachings, lack of Godly character and sin (as our Lord directs us to do) is to invite charges of negativism, division and worse.
Within the community there will be times of admonishing one another in an loving and encouraging way, with a heart to restore one another within the instruction of the Word of God and the love of Christ.
(Heb. 10:24,25*) and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.