The Power of Encouragement
Gary Chapman has written that there are five love languages.These are gifts, quality time, act of service, physical touch and words of affirmation. For me, I like to hear your love. I am mostly an auditory learner and that crosses over into how I feel loved. My family will tell you that I tell them several times a day that I love them. Sometimes my son will roll his eyes and sigh as he says, "Daaaad, you already told me that!" I most often express love to my family in the way I best understand love myself.
As a result of this language of love of mine, I have found that one of my prominent spiritual gifts is encouragement. I love to tell people things that will exhort them in their daily lives. I find rejuvenation in speaking or writing encouraging words to people. I want to celebrate with you when I see you succeed and I want to lift you up when you have failed. I like helping people feel as though the race that they are on is one that they are running well and can finish strong.
The Bible commands us all to be encouragers. Proverbs 12:25 says, "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad." So many of us are anxious. Many of us are battling depression. The world can seem dark and lonely. Even "good Christians" can fall into these hollow places. Great theologians like Spurgeon and Chambers were known for the battles they faced daily with depression. This passage reminds us that we can help one another in this area. How does it say we can help those who are hurting? It says we can make someone's heart glad by issuing a good word --- an encouragement.
Think about your own life. I am certain you can recall a time when you had a hopelessness in your spirit and someone issued a good word that made your heart glad. I believe a primary way that we assist each other on the Christian journey is through encouragement. As we express the power of God's love through encouraging words (and actions), we help our brothers and sisters in Christ to see that there is so much more to life than our present circumstances.
Hebrews 3:13 says it best: "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." God commands that we encourage others every day. Why? Because Satan in a master deceiver and he is always at work to discourage believers. If we listen to his voice too long, our hearts grow hard to the Truth of God. When a fellow believer reminds us that Christ is King and His plan is at work, we are empowered by encouragement to let the voice of the enemy fall on deaf ears.
Today, if you are in a low place, let me remind you that Jesus died for you out of love for the person that you are. You do not have to worry about today or tomorrow because He has authored every letter of your story. He has promised that even if everyone you know has left you, He will never forsake you. The same Jesus who saved you from the pit of sin and despair, says that He came to bring you life to the fullest. Do not listen to the lies of the enemy as his purpose is to steal your joy, kill your witness and destroy your life. Your God wants to give you a life that is not free from hardship and sadness, but one that learns from difficulties and finds joy in every situation.
If you are doing well, I implore you to encourage someone today and everyday. You never know when the Lord will use you to be the voice of His love into someone's life. You may not feel like your gift is encouraging others and that is okay. God commands you to do it anyway. Let the Holy Spirit's comfort empower you to be the encouragement someone needs. You will be encouraged as well by speaking love into another's heart.