If there’s something we all need it’s encouragement. Right from the earliest of days encouraging words go a long way towards our development and growth as people.
It can come in the simplest of forms, for example, when a child first picks up a pencil or crayon and begins to draw, the lines are this way, that way and the other – there’s no apparent picture, but we don’t from our adult perspective, experience or ability say, that’s rubbish, rather we get along side them and say “well done,” and they feel good, and they have another go. In time we might come alongside them, pick up the crayon and say to them, “look what happens when you do this,” and they take it and have a go, it’s faltering, not quite the real thing, but again you don’t get cross with them and condemn what they done, you say, “well done, that’s great!” And over time with encouragement their confidence and skills develop, and so does there work.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to criticize, to pull down rather than to build up, and continual criticism can destroy us on the inside, make us angry and kick out at or retreat from the world. We all need encouragement – the devil is the one who loves to sow discouragement. He loves, to quote Jesus, to do nothing but “rob, kill and destroy.” He is against God’s people, he hates them with a vengeance. He likes to diss them, slander them, put them down, and knock them out if he can – the only encouragement he ever gives is in the direction of sin and away from God.
Praise God, He has given a better Word, a word in which he declares his great love, mercy and grace for us in Jesus, a word in which he speaks great words of encouragement to us. Words that save, words that pick us up, clean us up, encourage, strengthen and equip us. Words that give us hope and enable us to keep moving forward.
Praise God he has given us the gift of prophecy, a gift given to the body of Christ, to encourage, to build up, and not pull down.
Praise God he has put us in a family, a loving environment where we can receive and give encouragement, and so grow and help others to as well – as the New Testament writers frequently say, “encourage one-another…”
Do you need encouragement today? Then go to God’s word, and see what he has to say to you, read of his passionate heart and purpose for you as his child…
Is there someone around you who needs a word of encouragement? A family member, a brother or sister in Christ, a colleague at work – perhaps the greatest witness you could be to that unsaved colleague would be to encourage them (maybe nobody else does)?
Life is so fast and it’s so easy to take people and what they do for granted, why not take time to thank someone for what they’ve done – that’s encouraging; to appreciate them as a person and their God-given skills, to compliment them? And lets be careful we don’t just focus on the big and impressive things but take time to notice the small things, the ordinary, the mundane things, and thank and encourage those doing them.
One last thing, encouragement changes not only hearts, but the atmosphere, the environment, and makes what may be hard and difficult so much easier to face and do.