Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Corinthians 13:11
Who knew there was so much to ponder in one simple little verse of the Bible?
If you’re late to the party, you can catch up on the first and second posts here:
Here in the northern hemisphere we are smack in the middle of autumn, and we all know what happens next, right? We know what to expect!
The same should be true when the world looks at followers of Christ. There should be certain characteristics common to all of us in increasing measure as we grow in our relationship with Christ.
Encourage Each Other
In my last post, we discussed how growing in maturity often involves how we think about and relate to others. These attitudes and behaviors include mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, love, and peace. All seem to me to be anchored in the posture of the heart.
We show mercy out of gratefulness for the mercy we have received, choosing to think kindly of another leads to kind actions toward them, and so on. In other words, out of the mouth (and through the hands) the heart speaks!
I believe encouraging one another takes an additional degree of initiative. It requires thought, understanding both where a person is in their walk of faith and how we can give them a boost onward. And then it requires us to actually do something, through either speech or action.
For example, if Mary Sue has discovered that she has a talent for painting beautiful flowers, encouraging words might tell her how her paintings bring God’s creation to life in new ways. Encouraging actions might buy a gift card to the local art store for supplies. Mary Sue’s talent was given to her by God for a purpose, and helping her develop them for His glory would help strengthen her in her journey of faithful obedience.
It can be difficult at times to get out of our own heads and to actually see the people around us, much less what they’re going through and how their heart is doing! If we are going to encourage each other, we need to look outside of ourselves.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.Philippians 2:4 NLT
Encouragement can take the form of comfort or consolation for the hurting, strengthening for the weak or wavering, building up for the insecure or apprehensive, or infusing hope into the hopeless.
It involves applying something we already have to someone else’s situation, bringing them strength, comfort, and hope.
Over the next several days, put your mind to pondering while you set about your day with eyes wide open to who God wants you to really see.
Then pray. Ask God how you can encourage that person in their faith and build them up toward the purpose He has created them for.
Finally, take steps of obedience! Whether through word or deed, you will find yourself blessed greatly by simply being a blessing.
Would you like to encourage other readers? Share an example in the comments below of how someone blessed your faith journey. Perhaps it will set a spark in them to move forward in being an encouragement for someone else!