Chaplain’s Column: Practicing Christian Encouragement
Scripture: 1 Thess 5:11
In 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5, Verse 11 of the Bible it says “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Christian encouragement is a command of God. But like the command to evangelize, we often find it awkward to employ in everyday life.
Romans Chapter 12 Verses 9 through 10 says “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Someone said that “discouragement is a darkroom where the negatives of fear and failure are developed”. In Romans Chapter 12, verse 15 says Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
The practice of Encouragement makes it easier to live in a fallen world in a holy way. Encouragement makes it easier to love as Jesus loved. (see John 13:34-35). Encouragement gives hope (Romans 15:4). Encouragement helps us through times of discipline and testing (Hebrews 12:5).
Encouragement nurtures patience and kindness (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galatians 5:22-26). Encouragement makes it easier to sacrifice our own desires for the advancement of God’s kingdom. In short, encouragement makes it easier to live the Christian life as we should. Without encouragement, life would soon feel pointless and burdensome. Without encouragement, we can be overwhelmed by the very real pains of our lives. Without encouragement, we feel unloved. Without encouragement, we begin to think that God is a liar or is unconcerned with our welfare.
So, the Bible tells us to encourage one another, to remind each other of the truth that God loves us, that God equips us, that we are treasured and that our struggles are worth it. Encouragement from the Bible gives us the will to carry on. It is a glimpse of the bigger picture. It can prevent burn-out. It can save us from believing lies (“sin’s deceitfulness”).
Encouragement helps us experience abundant life (see John 10:10). Some people are encouragers and others are discouragers. Have you ever met a discourager? They’re like a drink of water to a drowning man. They can brighten up a room by leaving it! And they leave you drained and depressed. But an encourager leaves you full and refreshed. God has cornered the market on encouragement. All encouragement comes from God.
I believe a church should be a community of encouragement. You’re never more like God than when you’re encouraging people… and never more like the devil than when you are discouraging people.
Perhaps you doubt …because you lack understanding… that God is with you always. I encourage you to read, memorize or repeat from memory… the many encouraging scriptures that are in the Bible.
Here are just a few:
Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 13:5: “I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you.”
Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
I believe There’s someone out there who is hurting today and needs more than a pat answer of encouragement. May I suggest….Give them the light of Christ.
Please remember those on our prayer list.