Our lives are filled with circumstances and people that want to tear us down. Rumors, gossip, and strife often surround us. We all need encouragement and that is today’s topic.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
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Today we want to encourage you by talking about the power of encouragement. I try to always be encouraging. Smiles are contagious and I have noticed that most people will smile back at you. Encouraging others often results in the same. We all need encouragement.
The Bible talks a lot about encouragement. Encouragement is filled with love for other people so it makes sense the Bible would address it. There is a lot we can say about encouragement, but we will limit it to three things today. We are talking about believers encouraging believers, believers encouraging others, and what the results of encouraging others are.
Believers Encouraging Believers
We first want to talk about believers encouraging believers. That is followers of Jesus encouraging each other. There are many elements of believers encouraging each other and they are outlined in 2 Corinthians 13:11.
2 Corinthians 13:11
(11) Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Paul is finishing his second letter to the church in Corinth and he wants to leave them on a high note. He wants them to dwell on something encouraging, so he encourages them.
First, he tells them to rejoice. It is easy to rejoice when things are going well. You’ve got a job, you’re healthy, and your children are doing well in school and keeping their rooms clean. People are happy to see you. But that’s not usually how it is though, is it? Not everything is going to be perfect in our lives all the time. There are always some difficulties or hard things we face.
But the Apostle Paul tells us to rejoice always in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
(16) Rejoice always, (17) pray continually, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
When we lose our job, rejoice. When we get sick, rejoice. When things aren’t going our way, rejoice. When we don’t have enough money to pay the bills, rejoice. Rejoice about what, you say? You are still alive and able to serve the Lord. You are still able to share the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with those around you. You can still be a witness of all that is good and holy, even in the face of uncertainty or disaster.
Paul tells us to seek unity in his letter to the church in Corinth. In other words, don’t dwell on what divides us. Celebrate and work within what unites us. Take the time to think about what you are going to say or do and how you are going to say it or do it so you are not divisive.
We are to be of one mind. As a body of believers, the Church, and Jesus’ followers, we must be of one mind. We must focus on what will further the kingdom of God in peace and love. We must focus on what we agree on and move in that direction.
Arguing about things rarely does anyone any good. Encourage one another by being of one mind with Christ and therefore one mind with one another.
And finally, live in peace. Not only living in peace with where we are in life and circumstance but living in peace with others. Not being argumentative or stubborn, but being loving, forgiving, and helpful. Doing these things will cause the body of believers to grow and be healthier spiritually. We all need encouragement, and you can’t help but be encouraged when those around you are living by these principles.
Believers Encouraging Others
These are also all great examples to the world. The world needs encouragement, too. First, we are encouraging to other believers or members of the body of Christ, then we should be encouraging others who are not believers, or Christians. By encouraging those around us who may not be believers, we encourage the world. This is a great way to show love and good deeds to others outside the body.
Let’s read Hebrews 10:23-25
(23) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (24) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, (25) not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The writer of Hebrews is instructing us to encourage one another by showing love and performing good deeds for one another. But think about what would happen if we showed love to the people in our sphere of influence. That is our family, our workplace, our school, and our community.
When we show love and encourage those around us that do not know Jesus, we become the face of Jesus to them. This allows us to pray for them and lift their spirits. They will see that we have something that they don’t, Jesus. This leads to questions and maybe even pointing them to Jesus!
Loving and encouraging those in our local sphere of influence can lead to doing things that will show our love and compassion for our region and our nation. You don’t need to know someone to show them love or encouragement. You don’t need to be face to face with them to bless them.
The same holds true here as it does when you are encouraging other believers. Do not dwell on what divides us. Spend more time celebrating what you have in common with others. Arguing with the world is fruitless and will bring no one closer to Jesus.
This is how the Church can change the world. We must love the people we come in contact with and not be discouraging but encouraging in the name of Jesus Christ because we all need encouragement. This will eventually allow us to share the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus with them.
Results of Encouraging Others
Encouraging one another multiplies and causes more encouragement everywhere.
Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:11
1 Thessalonians 5:11
(11) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Encouragement, like a smile, is contagious. Encouragement can spread and grow faster than gossip or a rumor if it is sincere. This allows us to point people to God and show them that a life in Christ is the best life we can live.
We all want to be around encouraging people. We all want to feel love and encouragement. Typically, the only people who do not want to be around encouraging people are people who prefer to gossip and spread rumors and strife. The two cannot happen in the same place.
It is difficult to be angry or depressed when you are surrounded by encouraging people. Encouragement can grow quickly leaving no room for rumors, strife, and gossip.
Encourage one another. Look for the positive in things. I know I much prefer to encourage others and be encouraged. When I am encouraging people, it is wrapped in a smile with sincerity behind it.
Friends, Jesus encouraged everyone who sincerely wanted to know him and follow him. He then tried to encourage others around him. He even encouraged the thief on the cross next to him as he was being crucified. Not everyone wanted to be encouraged, and not everyone followed him, but some did.
Today not everyone follows Jesus, yet Jesus stands there asking all to follow him. Some do not follow Jesus or have turned away from him because the church hasn’t been encouraging. We can do better. Let’s be ambassadors of Heaven and have the heart of Jesus for everyone around us and encourage them, just as he did.
Let’s stop arguing, gossiping, and back-biting and start encouraging one another and others because we all need encouragement.