Some people are dangerously near compromising their faith. A word of encouragement from you may put them back on track. – Chuck Swindoll
Chuck’s words strike a chord because I’ve experienced that kind of encouragement firsthand, and perhaps you have too.
Biblical encouragement – the kind that stirs the soul – isn’t fluff that soothes momentarily.
Biblical encouragement is grounded in scripture, offering sincere words and actions that linger, creating a spiritual boost only God can measure. I continue to learn how to shift from giving surface-type compliments to offering genuine soul-stirring encouragement. Here are a few things I’m learning along the way:
Focus on the internal. What actions are we seeing in others? Do we see a servant’s heart? If so, we need to share the specific ways we see Christ-in-action through their lives. And if it’s done in front of someone they respect, even better.
Celebrate! Maybe it’s someone in our youth group, small group, neighbor, or co-worker. Did they conquer a hurdle in their lives? Receive a promotion? Graduate? It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate with them! Send a card, give them a call, or share a small meaningful gift to remind them of God’s hand in their celebration.
Be present. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. It’s not a matter of if sin happens, but when. So here’s the question: When this happens to someone we love and they refuse to face it, will we choose to quietly fade into the background because it’s the easiest, cleanest thing to do? Or will we, instead, choose to come alongside that person, love them unconditionally, and continue to point them back to Jesus? We may be the only representation of Living Water they know during their driest season.
In Acts 4:36 NIV, Luke translates Barnabas to mean “son of encouragement.” The original Greek word for “encouragement,” paraklesis, means consolation, exhortation, and comfort. Apparently, the apostles who gave Joseph the name Barnabas saw these qualities in his character.
When Jesus sees us, does He see these qualities? Could we be called a daughter of encouragement?
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us
and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort
you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17 NIV
I remember the day I created my Encouragement Folder. I’d not been writing very long when my mom surprised me by emailing her friends and family a copy of something I’d done. Soon afterwards, she forwarded a response she’d received from her cousin, Marie, to me.
As I read Marie’s email, the words soon became murky for all the tears. You see, just one day prior, I’d asked God for specific confirmation concerning my writing. Because Marie took the time to share words of encouragement, one wobbly kneed writer became strengthened.
This week, I had a similar experience and was once again reminded of why everyone needs an Encouragement Folder. Writers, mothers, employees, ministry leaders, _______, etc. Fill in the blank because it’s a fact that you’ll be stirred up (Hebrews 10:24), strengthened (Acts 15:32), and grace-filled (Ephesians 4:29) if you’re the recipient of divine encouragement. It’s no wonder the enemy attempts to snatch up such a powerful stirring!
Enter, the Encouragement Folder. If When you receive a word of encouragement that stimulates you spiritually, act on it immediately. Jot it down or record it either online or in a snazzy folder (see above!) You may be surprised by how God uses another person’s words from years ago to stir you towards the future.
Consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
So, here’s the pressing question: How can we help others fill up their folders? The word “consider” means to turn over in one’s mind. Encouraging others oftentimes requires thought. I have much to learn but here’s how turning it over works itself out in my mind:
1. Pray. I ask the Lord to help me see others with His eyes. He alone knows the deepest needs of those He places around us on any given day.
2. Observe. I’ve prayed to see, I believe He will answer. Now, I watch and observe how He leads.
3. Obey. Sometimes I feel certain of the person whom God wants me encourage or what the person may need (someone to pray with, a note, a hug, help in some tangible way, etc.) but this isn’t always the case. And that’s okay. God’s got it! I simply need to be obedient to what I sense God is leading me to do and then trust Him with the results.
How about you? Whose Encouragement Folder will expand today because we took the time to write them words of encouragement?
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,
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