Has it ever occurred to you that there is a ministry you can undertake that needs no calling, no permission and not real qualifications? It is the ministry of encouraging others.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13;
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
In fact, all of us are to be involved in this ministry, yet far too many are not. In fact, one of the reasons for church is to encourage one another. We should seek to be an encouragement to people every chance we get.
It is sad when you realize how many Christians fall away from the Lord. They turn their backs on the lifestyle and dedication to Christ even though most still believe deep in their hearts the same way as before. In fact, they probably are aware, though they may not admit it, that they are doing the wrong thing. Think of all the good people you know who fit into this category. Yet the saddest part of all is that most casualties could be prevented if more Christians possessed this characteristic of being encouraging. For some reason, we seem to be afraid to get involved in other people’s lives. So, rather than being a blessing, we sit and waste while people need us who could have been helped. Too many of us shut ourselves off in our own little world waiting for someone else to give us a lift. God expects us to be lifting others.
Who is to encourage whom?
Leaders are to encourage followers.
Paul taught Timothy in Titus to exhort, or encourage, the people. II Chronicles 35:2 says, “And he (Josiah) set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord.” Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” God expects those of us who are leaders to be an encouragement to those who follow us.
Followers are to encourage leaders.
Deuteronomy 1:38 says, “But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.” In Deuteronomy 3:28, “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.” God wants those who are followers to encourage those who are our leaders.
We are all to encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25) It is the responsibility of every Christian to be an encouragement to all of those around them.
When should we encourage others?
There are many times when people need encouragement. We should be more aware of these and step up at these times to encourage our fellow Christians. Let’s consider a few.
- In times of testing. When someone is being tested, or when their faith is being challenged, we should be there to encourage them.
- In times of temptation. When we see a brother or sister who is being tempted by sin or tempted to quit, that is a time when we should be an encouragement to them.
- In times of discouragement. We all get down. All of us experience a time when our spirits become heavy. That is when we ought to be an encouragement to others.
- In times of decision-making. When someone is facing a difficult decision or facing a decision that may affect the rest of their lives, we should be an encouragement to them. People need more encouragement that they need our “not asked for” opinions.
- In times of victory. When someone has a victory in their life, Satan is going to attack them immediately after that victory. More people fall after victories than after defeats. That is a time when we must encourage people to go on to the next victory.
- In times of defeat. When you see a person have a defeat in his/her life, that is the time that he/she needs to be encouraged.
- In times of growth. When a person is growing in the Lord, they need to be encouraged as they grow because Satan will be discouraging them each step of that spiritual growth.
- In times of grief. When a person’s life is affected by the loss of a loved one, we ought to be there to encourage them.
- In times of importance. When someone has a child, when someone gets married, or when someone graduates from high school or college, we should be an encouragement to them.
- In times of sickness.
- In times of adjustment. When a person makes a move to a new area or to a new home, when a person is first married, when a person first becomes a parent, when a lady becomes a widow, or when a child goes to college; all of these are times of adjustments in people’s lives; times when they need us to encourage them.
- In times of loneliness. Many times during the holidays, people are especially lonely. This is a time when we should be an encouragement.
- In times of personal experience. You have been there. Something that is very personal happened in your life, an experience that was unique to you, and you needed someone to encourage you. Others around you need the same.
How should we encourage others?
- We should motivate each other. (Hebrews 10:24) The word provoke means to stimulate. In other words, we are to motivate people. People need motivation and we should help do our best to help motivate them.
- We should encourage with good and kind words. (Proverbs 25:11) Everyone occasionally needs to hear an, “I love you,” or “I care and I am praying for you.” Words are an important part of encouragement.
- We should encourage with praise. Paul so often encouraged with words of love and gratitude. He would say to the church something positive and praise them as an encouragement to them.
- We should encourage with hope. The Bible tells us that we are supposed to use the rapture as a way of encouraging others. In fact, the Bible says, “Wherefore encourage one another with these words.”
- We should encourage with loving kindness and patience. (II Timothy 4:2)
- We should encourage with the Scriptures. The Bible says, “Exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” There is nothing more encouraging than the words of God.
- Occasionally we ought to encourage with a loving reprimand.
- We can encourage by an act of thoughtfulness.
- We can encourage by a personal testimony of what God has done for us.
- We can encourage by simply being aware and sensitive to others.
- God’s people need to become more aware of this matter of being encouraging. God expects us to help each other, and every member of the body of Christ is important. We must realize that those around us are hurting.
For many years, Dr. Jack Hyles had a daily radio broadcast every morning at 9:00. He would chat with the people and then he would close each radio broadcast every day of the week with these words, “And do not forget to be kind to everybody because everybody is having a tough time.” That is what every Christian should remember.