Be Encouraging

Kyle Smith

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About 10 years ago, I was on a train heading back home to Illinois, where I lived at the time. At one of the stops a complete stranger got up and handed this note to me. He was a young man with a backpack and I only caught a glimpse of him as the train pulled away. He must have overheard a phone conversation I had about some discouraging things I was facing. The note said:

Do not be discouraged. Keep running the race that God has set for you. Do the work that God has planned for your life and trust Him to take care of the rest. Don’t get down when things aren’t running smoothly. Just trust God to take care of them. Keep your chin up. (Hebrews 3.13)

The young man’s note was an incredible reminder of the power of encouragement. Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians attest to this incredible power. He believes it’s so important that he commands believers to make it a part of their lives.

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. [1 Thessalonians 5.12-22, ESV]

These verses are packed with meaning, but let’s look at three basic truths about how you can encourage others:

1. You encourage others by your moral authority. Did you notice Paul’s two commands concerning evil? We shouldn’t repay anyone evil for evil, and we should stay away from every form of evil. The virtue, character and integrity that is a part of your life is a form of encouragement all by itself.

2. You encourage others by maintaining positive relationships. Rejoicing, giving thanks, being at peace with others … these are all ways to stay positive in your relationships. Anyone can be a powerful encourager if he or she has great relationships with people.

3. You encourage others by being very intentional about it. Admonish, being patient, helping … those are actions that are all intentional. You really don’t help others by accident. It takes having some time in your schedule to be able to help others. You must have some form of margin in your life or you will just hurry from one thing to another. You certainly can’t be patient with others by accident! Encouraging others involves being mindful of the opportunities around us to be a positive force in the people’s lives, and then taking action.

You don’t need to be a superhero or possess amazing talents to be an encourager. You just need to be intentional about it. It’s amazing the difference you can make in someone’s life when you notice their needs and do something about it.

My Challenge To You

Who is someone in your life that you know could use some encouragement? Perhaps it’s a spouse, child, parent, pastor, co-worker, friend, family member, neighbor, or maybe it could even be a complete stranger. Make it your goal to intentionally encourage at least two people before you go to bed this evening. You'll be glad you did.

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St. Louis, MO
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