Encouragement (Psalm 119:28; 143:3; Matthew 3:17; John 14:1; Colossians 4:7-8;1 Thessalonians. 5:11-14; Hebrews 10:25) will lift, support, and help others through difficult circumstances, all from God's perspective. Being in Christ means living our lives for Him with excitement in all times and all places. This is influence; this is what encourages others.
Withdrawn, Dishearten, Bring down, and Dampen are opposite terms. These are the rotten fruits that criticize or cut people down, even you! Instead of encouraging one another in our churches, we spend way too much time tearing one another down. We tend to be lazy and rude, as we like to stay away from others' feelings and concerns, seeking only our own. The Word calls us to inspire and build one another up! We are never to be critical, condescending, or belligerent to others, for this is a slap in the face of our Lord, a misrepresentation of how we are to be to His people and the world. We cannot excite, energize, or influence people by our arrogance!
God calls us to encourage people! Tell others what you like about them, or when they are doing something well. This builds unity and strength that cannot exist with selfish and lone Christians. To life a life that does not touch others positively is a very sad life indeed.
Encouragement is a testament to the importance of Christian influence, and being an attractive person, not in looks, but in character, because we are modeling Christ, being excited about our Lord and others and being joyful. We must be aware of our weaknesses, and befriend others so we can compliment one another. Attraction is the love of our Lord overfilling us as Christians, to those we are to mobilize and energize. No matter what the circumstance may be, we are given the gifts and abilities to strive to the fullest for the Glory of God, so the Gospel will persevere, even in the harshest circumstances, in the world, and the neighborhood by your home.
The principles of the Gospel must impact us so we are influenced and energized by them. If us Christians are not excited, the message will drop off, and fall flat. The hearer will not desire something irrelevant and unexciting. If they see no excitement in us, why would they want to be a part of it? The nature of the Christian life is the joy and excitement of being in Christ over all else, and this should be the biggest motivation. So, the excitement comes from our growth, then it becomes contagious to those around us; this is influence in action.
Paul's language in the Epistles with dear brother shows the love and respect they had for each other, the kind of positive relationship that is so lacking in our world and churches these days. We are called to this quality relationship, but so often place our baggage, our needs, in the path Christ has for us. Being a loyal servant of the Lord must impact us with passion and energize us to pass it to others; if not, there is something wrong. There are always peaks and valleys in the Christian walk. We are not always in the up-key mode, but this should not mute the passion we have for Christ. We must press on and reboot ourselves when we get in those valleys, so we can rise to the challenge and follow through with the excitement of His Good News. In that way, we can come along side others, and give them the lift they need with kind words, help, and a listening ear.
Encouragement is the fruit of the mature walk of the Christian life. This will empower us to uplift one another and not put down. It is the immature and ungodly individual that constantly puts down his fellow Christian, and a despicable and repulsive Christian who does it to the unbeliever. This is the reason for the horrible reputation we Christians have in society. Can you imagine Christ putting people down with insults so as to uplift Himself? Absolutely not! When we are called to model His character, and are created in the image of God, then we are to model that essence and attribute of our Lord.
The effective Christian will have the ability to attract people for the Lord's service and be willing and able to show the way of discipleship with enthusiasm. He will enable others with love, care, and the fruits of good character! The church leaders will be able to uplift others through mentoring, with the primary focuses on how to glorify Christ and what is best for the Lord's church. It is His church, not ours! The ability to Encourage is born from the desire to please God, and carrying that passion to others.
- How do I exhibit Encouragement to others in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop an attitude of and willingness to be Encouraging?
- What blocks me from being an Encourager?
- How can I make Encouragement function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- How would you define Encouragement?
- Do you strive to be Encouraging to others as a reflection of who you are in Christ, and what He did for you?
- How does Doubt counteract Encouragement? Why is Encouragement something that does not happen as much as it should?
- What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers of self-esteem, rather than Encouragement in Christ?
- When have you most been filled with Encouragement?
- In what situation did you fail to be Encouraging when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve by your being more Encouraging?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Encouragement into action in a specific instance. Do people treat you unfairly? Have you ever wondered why? Well, we live in a fallen world, and we are all filled with sin. Sin affects our relationships, the way you treat others, and the way they treat you. Yet, even in sin, we have the choice to make a difference. So, what is your choice? When we are Encouragers to others, it does come back to us!
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Num. 13:25-33; 1 Kings 12:20,f; 1 Sam. 19:8-10; Luke 15:25-31)
Remember, when we treat others well, they usually reciprocate by treating us well, too.