Our Blog

Filter By:

← Return to Blog Home

Grow & Go - May 204

main image

Be An Encouragement

My wife and I have been married for 29 years now and the first half of those years together we were not followers of Christ. But then God, in His sovereign grace, stepped into time and space and transformed both of us by the power of the gospel to have a desire to follow Him. Due to the unmerited grace that I/we have both received because of what Christ paid on the cross, she and I both take seriously the imperative to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk 12:31). This desire exists because the Holy Spirit led others to encourage us in the faith. Other Christ followers showed us what it looked like to encourage and because of this, we now exist to give Him glory and be the encouragers.

In the years that I have been a follower of Christ, there has been nothing more encouraging to me than someone who offers encouragement. The apostle Paul encouraged the church at Thessalonica exclaiming “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess 5:11). At every turn of adversity or trials in my life as a Christian, there have always been those believers who have offered encouragement to me. They breathed life into me, I remember them, and I want to emulate the same encouragement in the lives of others.

Intentional Encouragement

Some of you just heard my wife speak at the Ladies’ event recently when she shared testimony of how God has created a culture of hospitality in our home. Let me say, that hospitality and encouragement were not something that came naturally before our lives and hearts were transformed by the gospel. Since others have shown us what it means to be an encouragement and we have experienced this outpouring of love ourselves, there is an intentionality that has occurred from that fruit. More importantly, being an encourager flows from the fruit of a life that has been redeemed by Christ.

- Being an intentional encourager requires denying self. This means that we must set aside any motives that we have other than as Paul stated to “build one another up” (1 Thess 5:11). Ask yourself as you are in conversation with someone “Am I making this about me”? Or, am I “counting the other person more significant than myself” (Phil 2:3) just being a good listener, then responding in such a way that encourages them? If we are to be the encouragement that others need, it requires us to be more in tune with our selfish ambitions and learn to deny them. Being an intentional encourager means that other’s needs are simply more important than our desires, wants, and ambitions, and then seeking ways to elevate them instead of ourselves.

- Being intentional in encouraging others is led by the Holy Spirit. We should recognize that being an encourager is Spirit-led. With the Holy Spirit as our helper, comforter, guide, and even challenger we can know that God will equip us with the right words to say at exactly the right time to offer encouragement. I can say with certainty that God has without question worked in the life of another to give me an encouraging word when I
needed it most. Let me offer to you also that if we desire to be an encouragement, be intentional that God will present people to you who need your uplifting words. Pray that God will present people for you to offer encouragement.

- Words of encouragement are contagious. I am aware of several Life Groups here at Oakhill that make it intentional each week at the start of their groups to encourage each other toward evangelistic conversations. After they share these conversations the groups pray for those people that heard and rejoice about when the Spirit of God begins to move in their lives. There is nothing more encouraging for us than to hear how God is using gospel conversations to bring people to Himself. When we are encouraging one another to “stir up one another to love and good works”
(Heb 10:24), we have no opportunity to fill our time with issues and things that just stir each other up. It is also helpful to other Christians who do not have the gift of encouragement and for them to see what being hospitable and encouraging looks like from someone who has this gift from above.

- Set your mind to encouraging often. Who have you offered an uplifting and encouraging word today? Is there someone on your mind you need to check on? The greatest gift you can offer to your pastors is to encourage them, to pray for them, and to partner with them in offering support to others who are in need. You can offer encouragement to others by sharing the amazing fruit of God’s work in your life. Rejoice with others when good things happen in their life.

In reading this I hope it encourages you to be an encouragement to those in your life and sphere of influence. My prayer is you recognize at least one simple thing from this article that will inspire you to encourage and elevate the life of someone else. For each of us to grow more into the image of Christ and to grow spiritually, we need our church family, our brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage us “as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb 10:25).

Posted by Paul Willett with