“..exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Biblical encouragement is a command that we see throughout the bible. Because of sin, life is hard and we can lose sight of our hope and our calling. We can be quick to forget the promises of God and Satan is committed to seeing that we do. We are called to encourage others so that we do not grow ‘hardened by the deceitfulness of sin’.
What does encouragement look like?
Its different from a compliment.
It’s is not telling someone they throw a great party or that you love their shirt. Compliments are nice, and you should still do that. But biblical encouragement is meant to push people into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is meant to remind us of the gospel and the promises of God. In the midst of trials, It is meant to bring hope where it has been lost. It reminds us of our worth and identity, and it gives us courage to do the things we are called to do. It lets us know where our giftedness lies and the ways the Lord specifically wants to use us.
Telling a pastor ‘I loved your sermon today’ is great, but to take something specific that was said and to tell them how it was impactful to you is likely more meaningful. Here are some specific ways that you might encourage a person.
“Here is how God has used you…”
“Here is how I see God at work in you…”
“Here is what God has promised you…”
Its meant to be done daily.
We don’t save encouragement for a big moment or wait until something truly remarkable has happened in a person’s life. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us we are to encourage daily! When we are in community with others, we get the privilege of seeing growth in one another. We see a person’s strengths and gifts that the Lord is using to build up the body. We know what it’s like for life’s circumstances to get us down and we know the need to be reminded of the good news. And in all this we have the opportunity to lift up a person in the day to day when we can easily lose sight of what we are called to.
Pray that God can grow us in the discipline of encouragement and that we would desire to build up those around us. Pray for specific people to encourage in intentional and specific ways. And then just do it! Trust that since we are commanded to encourage, God can and will grow you in this. It may feel awkward initially but it will become more natural with practice, and then those around you will be more prepared to go live life for the kingdom because of your encouragement.
What keeps you from encouraging people regularly?
Who’s someone that you can encourage today?