March 4, 2013

Being an Encourager

This past week, I took my young son to one of his karate classes just like I do every week. But on this particular day, the class was unusually small (only 7 kids). So the sensei decided to have the kids practice a particular set of skills one at a time and have the rest of the group comment on their technique. He gave two simple instructions. After the student was finished doing their skills, each of the other students could choose to say something positive that they did well or give a suggestion on how they could improve. Well my son is a very analytic child, and so he waited and watched each child take their turn and strategically chose to go last. I could only assume it was because he got the benefit of learning from the mistakes of those that went before him. When class was over and we were driving home, he asked why the other students only pointed out what he did wrong instead of saying something nice about what he did well. I did not want his feelings to be hurt, so I simply said they just wanted him to be able to do his best.

Later I was thinking about his question to me and it got me thinking. Why do we find it so much easier to point out the faults of others instead of building each other up? Think about that for a minute. How often do you criticize or pass judgement on others when what we should be doing is offering encouragement and sharing God's love? I think many times it comes from a place of insecurity inside us and finding the faults in others makes us feel better about ourselves. But when you meditate on the fact that we are created in God's image and through Jesus we are new creations, you can find wholeness and peace and let those insecurities slip away.

So how do we do it? How can we be encouraged, and how do we become encouragers? True encouragement grows out of a deep faith-walk with God and one another. It requires our time and selfless devotion. It seeks to lift up and heal, helping others grow closer to God, so they can press on in their faith and be better suited for serving in God’s kingdom. There are dozens of Bible verses that train us to be encouragers. May these sampling of Scriptures encourage you today!
Jesus, our Hope, encourages us. (Heb. 6:18, 2 Thess. 2:17)
Salvation encourages us. (1 Thess. 5:8-11)
The Holy Spirit encourages us. (Acts 9:31)
The faith of others encourages us. (Acts 11:23, 28:15, Ro. 1:12, Phil. 1:14, 1 Thess. 3:7)
Fellowship with believers encourages us. (Phil. 2:1, Heb. 10:25)
The truth of Scripture encourages us. (1 Co. 14:31, Phil. 1:14, Tim. 4:2-5, Titus 1:9)
Serving God encourages us. (2 Chron. 35:2)
Anticipating the Lord’s coming encourages us. (1 Thess. 4:18)


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