“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encouragement is such an important part of the Christian life and yet we often dismiss it as something minor or insignificant. On the surface, we consider encouragement as nothing more than a pat on the back. The truth is, encouragement is helping someone find the courage and strength to face the challenges of the day. This is not only important but it is essential for all of us. We need encouragement.
We are told in the Bible that we are to build one another up. There are a thousand different ways that we can offer encouragement to each other but it will require some discipline and commitment on our part. If we are not careful, we get busy and forget or overlook how important it is to encourage one another.
There is no doubt that encouragement is needed in our time. So often we hear divisive and hurtful rhetoric. Discouragement and disillusionment are battles that so many people are engaged in every day. The challenges facing us are obvious on the faces and in the lives of those we see every day. Parents who are struggling to juggle all the demands on their time, those who are facing health issues, families dealing with financial concerns, loneliness and even despair. The list goes on.
Locust Grove joined the #changetheconversation revolution last year. We are just getting started. The focus for the next month or two will be on encouragement. Let us find ways to encourage one another to love and good deeds.
Here are some suggestions on learning how to live into the power of encouragement.
1. Make a commitment.
Encouraging one another is a discipline that requires attention and intentionality. Decide you are going to find opportunities to encourage others. Decide ahead of time that you are going to make encouragement part of your daily life.
2. Keep your eyes and heart open.
There will be opportunities every day to encourage someone. It may begin at home or in your circle of friends. It could be someone at work or school who needs encouragement. The person in front of you at the grocery store may be in need of an uplifting word. The challenge will be to keep your eyes and ears open. Stay awake and be aware of the opportunities that are placed in your path today.
3. Pray for open doors.
Paul prayed for open doors of opportunity to minister to the needs of others. In your time of prayer, allow the Spirit to guide and direct your attention to someone who may need encouragement today. Pray for open doors.
4. Act on your intentions.
It is not enough to simply agree on the importance of encouragement and then do nothing. Our intentions demand action. There are many different ways to offer encouragement. It may come in the form of a letter, an email, phone call, a word of appreciation, or an act of kindness.
5. Return to the source.
The source of encouragement is found in Christ. When you find yourself running on empty, go back to the source. Remember Paul’s challenge for all of us; “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
My you be strengthened with the grace and love of Christ and then go and encourage someone today.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace,
Listen to Episode 6 – Encourage One Another from Change the Conversation in Podcasts. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/change-the-conversation/id1441576721?mt=2&i=1000425834982