Be an Encourager

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another…”

1 Samuel 30:6 – “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

It is my desire to encourage others at every opportunity, but the fact is I often fail to put that desire into practice. Sometimes I am wrapped up in my own problems, or I simply fail to see that someone is in need of an encouraging word. It can be frustrating to ponder missed opportunities, but I discovered how I could do better:

These questions resounded in my heart one morning during devotion, “Are you an encourager to yourself? How can you be in the habit of encouraging others if you consistently discourage yourself with condemnation and negative thoughts?”

It was becoming clear that I needed to begin with myself in forming a habit of offering encouragement. The fact is, one cannot be double-minded and still remain equipped to effectively serve Lord. In other words, entertaining discouraging thoughts about my failures could not at the same time contribute to an encouraging, positive disposition for building up others.

Undoubtedly it will continue to be a learning process, but if I slip up I will ask God for forgiveness and another opportunity to give hope to the person I overlooked. Thankfully however, if that particular opportunity does not recur, I know I can trust in the mercy and goodness of the Lord to provide other chances to minister in His name.

Please share in the comment section what parts spoke to you the most, and feel free to include your additional insights about this post.

One Reply to “Be an Encourager”

  1. “Seek the kingdom of self, and all these things will be taken from you.” (Paraphrased) C.S. Lewis said “When you put first things first, God will throw in second things. But put second things (self) first, and you’ll lose not only first things but eventually the second ones also.” That’s from a recent twitter/blog by J.D. Greer. You’ll see where I’m headed with that one.
    Since 1982 we’ve encouraged, studied God’s word, and prayed with one another in one of the most rewarding and valued friendships that God provides – a friendship cultivated by “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) After focusing on your blog for a time, I decided to look up the word “encourage.” Definitions included “to inspire with courage, spirit or hope; to give support, courage, or hope; to make something more appealing; to make (someone) more determined, hopeful or confident; to make (someone) more likely to do something by making it easier for them and making them believe it is a good thing to do; to make something more likely to happen or develop; to talk or behave in a way that gives (someone) confidence to do something.” Hmmmm! I then thought about the latest issue of Christianity Today, reflecting on the great poet Wendle Berry – off I went to look up 2 of his poems – then back to the touch point about poetry’s common threads with preaching (was doing some deep thinking here). The article stated, “Preaching is not a solo affair; we aren’t lone rangers gunning it out at the edge of civilization. We are a fraternity (e.g.a brotherhood, sisterhood, fellowship, kinship, friendship, companionship, support, mutual support, community, union, togetherness) bound across space and time.” Just like the writer and the poet depend on creation and others to speak to them the inaudible things of the soul – the things of God (Hope), your blog caused me to reflect on those encouragers (past/present) in my life.

    How can I not be humbled by the fact that I am and have been “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). Strangers, teachers, pastors, coworkers, bosses, family, loved ones “encourage(d)” me in Jesus (my living hope). Those who are/were walking/talking testimonies pointing me to love God, to trust God. To trust that there exists for me, for those I love, for everyone who believes on the name of Jesus a perfectly designed plan God works out for the highest good of all. Without this hope (encouragement) there are times I could not have (and neither could others if they be honest) think of brighter days ahead or envision eternity with God. You pointed out, Mary Ann, how needful it is to be in the ‘habit’ of encouraging ourselves in God’s word and offering encouragement to others. God’s word tells us we cannot build habits that will stand unless the Holy Spirit does the work. Also, it is the surrendered life, a life encouraged and surrendered to the habit of encouraging others and accepting encouragement from others that provides an enriched life through Christ Jesus.

    My MeMe used to say, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” How true is that! Likewise, you can be given encouragement, but not accept it. You can choose such a rigid schedule of paying attention only to “your 4 and no more), your do’s and don’ts, your convenient relationships and patterns of doing things, your calling/purpose that you don’t permit yourself the habit of “choosing” to allow the Holy Spirit to set your (my) days and nights. Humility seeks out others as worth time, worth the effort; it seeks out value in all people (those walking by faith, those and those whose eyes are dimmed, and those completely blind (which is how I once was, and really we all are absent of the continued working of the Holy Spirit ( the Bible says we see now dimly as in a glass). It is impossible to encourage unless I humble myself. Humility reaches to others, pride on the other hand, sees self, seeks self and looks after self, and pride keeps God at bay so we aren’t forced to deal with “self.” As Pastor J.D. said, “Seek the kingdom of self and all these things will be taken from from you.

    Now let us encourage one another in this: “Be confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6.

    After all, He does the work, not us, and makes us to will and be encouragers!

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