“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good (encouraging) word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25
After emailing with a couple of people the other night I was thinking about what a difference it makes to my heart when I reach out to encourage others around me. I want to begin this by saying that never in a million years would I have thought that others would draw encouragement from my words. While God has given me a heart of compassion and love that I have to attribute back to Christ I have never been one to word or express myself well to others. In fact I’ve struggled mightily at times even to find words to express my own heart.
While marveling and giving thanks to God once again for inspiring me and using me to encourage others I started feeling the need to share this and to encourage each of you to reach out to be an encouragement as well. After all, as we will see in these scriptures we are taught to be an encouragement to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I wonder how many of us have heard the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but, words can never hurt me…”? How many of us who heard that as children now realize just how false and ridiculous that saying really is? What does God’s Word say? Well… Proverbs 18:21 tell us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and James 3:8 says that “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” We are warned to be careful with our words in Matthew 12:36-37 which says “you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” I don’t know about you but that shakes me to the very core and convicts me to beg forgiveness.
I heard an interesting point in a sermon a while back that encouraged us in our dark times to reach out to others who are hurting around us to encourage them and that by being an encouragement we too will be encouraged. I must admit that when I started down this path that I’m on I didn’t really have those intensions to begin with. I started by reaching out to every source I could think of to deposit prayer requests of my own, then when I started reading and praying for others I was nudged by God to encourage some of them. It was through those baby steps that I started becoming inspired to do more and more until a friend I met on one of those sites invited me to a devotional group.
My point is this, if we ever hope to change our world we have to start with our own hearts and spread it by encouraging those around us as well. If we encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ that attitude of encouragement will spill out into our daily lives with all people. Maybe, just maybe if we do that we will gradually begin to see not only a change in ourselves but in the world around us as well.
“Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23:25
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:8-10
“Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].” Ephesians 4:29
“Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].” Galatians 6:2
How much better could our lives be if we spread encouragement to those around us even when we don’t really feel like it ourselves? If each of us take on the task of praying for 4 or 5 people on a regular basis and on reaching out to them to encourage them at times even if through an email or encouraging Christian e-card and each of those did the same we could reach masses of people around us with uplifting and encouraging words of life and hope through God’s word.
I am moved beyond words when I hear that someone has been encouraged by something that I have written and posted. My prayer is a twofold one of thanksgiving and praise to give that glory to God for working through me and of honest and desperate petition to Him to continue His work through me as His servant and vessel.
I leave all who read this with a challenge to encourage those around you on a regular basis. I leave you with this challenge as given to us in scripture. “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Sovereign God, as the prodigal son said in Your Holy Scriptures I have sinned against heaven and against You. Please forgive me for failing you and for the carelessness and horrible deeds of my tongue. I thank You Father for using me and inspiring me. Please continue to teach me how to be an uplifting encouragement to others and continue inspiring me and using me to speak life into those around me. I ask that You would shine Your glorious face upon each of us and that You would bring us all hope, peace, and joy for tomorrow. Give each of us testimonies of Your goodness and grace and help us to know how to use those testimonies to encourage and to bring hope to one another. I pray that You will meet each of us where we are in our times of need and bless us each out of the depths and riches of Your glorious goodness and love. Speak into our lives today and help us to spread Your love and encouragement to those around us today and everyday. Change our hearts and fill us with the love and compassion of Christ and give us the wisdom, strength, and knowledge to be able to control our tongues. It is in the precious name of Christ Jesus we pray. AMEN!
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the God of hope lift up His countenance upon you, show you His favor, give you His peace, and fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. AMEN! Num 6:24-26, Rom 15:13