Encouragement. Not a particularly long word, pertaining to number of letters. Longer than some shorter than others. Not a flashy word such as marvelous, astonishment or spellbinding. Yet it is a very important word to Christians as well as non-Christians. For it is a basic need of all humans, young or old, ones riding on the mountain top and those in the valley, every one of us.
- In Deuteronomy 3:28 we read this instruction to Moses. “But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.” NKJV.
If anyone needed encouragement it would have been Joshua for this task. He was to lead an unruly and fickle people onto the land that the Lord would give to His people. A people that could not decide to be true to God or worship idols. There is another word in that verse that goes hand in hand with encouragement. The word is strengthen. When we encourage someone to push on thru a difficult physical ailment or a difficult task, we are actually strengthening them. We are building their resolve to see it thru to whatever the Lord has in store for them. Another thing is that we are showing that we care enough to give them words that will help them.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 we read this instruction from Paul. “Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith.” NKJV.
The Thessalonians suffered for their faith as did Paul. He was concerned that maybe Satan had led them astray. Then, as it is now, it is hard sometimes to stand strong for our faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning death. We may slip up and for a time not follow the Lord as we should. That is why it is so important to have a friend that comes along side and in love, encourages us to turn back to the right path.
- Romans 1:11-12 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established-that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” NKJV.
Encouragement is a two way road. When the Lord gives us the words to speak encouragement to someone, we also receive the same benefit. Their reaction and gladness is a soothing tonic for us as well. As a member of the staff, I make visits to our church home bound, those that have lost their spouse, those in the hospital and members in general. I always try to encourage and pray that I do, but I know I always leave with great encouragement from those that I visit. It is part of the “enjoyment” that comes with the visits and the sharing of encouragement with fellow Christians.
We do not have to look far to see those in need of encouragement, it may be someone at work, someone at school, a neighbor, or a fellow Christian. Everyone needs to feel that someone is thinking of them and praying for them in their time of need. Life gives us many times of trouble as well as many times of happiness. A word of encouragement goes a long ways in brightening our outlook on life. It is my desire that we all strive to encourage each other and lift each other up and that the Lord will bless us for following His desire for us.
In Christian Love