The Key Is Encouraging
Don’t you just love to be encouraged?! Don’t you feel so much better after hearing an encouraging word? The Bible is full of encouraging Words that have the ability to ignite the fire of Christ within us. It’s one thing if someone tells us we have a nice smile, but it’s a powerful thing when we read about others who endure, press on in faith, and live and love through Christ. When I read about them, I think, “I can do this – through Christ, I can do this.”
Don’t you just love stories about people who have persevered? Sometimes I get chills all over my arms when I hear an amazing story of faith. When I hear about hardship and how people overcame and how God delivered them, my faith increases. God planned it that way. He wants us to encourage one another in the faith. Of all the following verses, I love the following the most:
So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
The reason I like it so much is Paul was concerned that people’s faith was tempted and destroyed by the enemy and that all of Paul’s efforts would end up being useless. Paul finds, however, that the people’s faith remains strong. He greatly rejoices in this news. Aren’t we the same way? Think of that person that you know who has a ton of faith. Don’t you feel better after you talk to them because they still have faith, and as a result of their faith, your faith increases too? It’s a wonderful formula. As we encourage one another our faith increases. This verse reminds me also that we must remain in His Word for our faith to increase and remain firm.
Consequently, Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Let’s read more about encouragement:
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed
The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.
If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard and love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Have you noticed that if you encourage others they will follow you to the ends of the earth? They love to be encouraged! They will go where you go because you encourage them, and their faith grows. As their faith grows, they gain more territory for the Kingdom. As a result they follow you to the ends of the earth. Truth is, they are following Jesus in you. It is the magnificence of Jesus that woos them as you encourage them to press on in Christ. If you want to be a leader who leads with excellence do one thing: Encourage them with the Word of God, continually. My advice for anyone leading, whether that be leading your family, your team at work, or your neighborhood garage sale, can be simplified in 3 sentences:
It’s a short, simple formula, but it brings multidimensional, eternal results.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.