“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”
Giving is truly in the air this time of year. We are all in search of that perfect gift for that special someone to show our love to the fullest. What if I told you that you didn’t need to search any longer because I had the perfect gift for anyone on your list? It is not a gift that is temporary but one that will actually keep on giving: encouragement. At times, we all need to be inspired, need to have our confidence restored, and need to have our focus redirected. As Christians, this is especially important because we are involved in daily spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6). And we know that this battlefield is not always the easiest of places to dwell, and can leave us feeling beaten, bruised, and weary. But with words of encouragement, we can find that, “pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). Our words are powerful, and can bring warmth and peace to someone’s life.
Encouragement is a gift from God that allows some an ability to lift others up with ease. But for others that doesn’t come as naturally. Do we just give up on it then? Certainly not! God has made us where we can stretch and grow in many different ways, and I pray that you allow yourself that opportunity. Here are some ways to grow encouragement skills in your own life!
Look at Biblical Examples
The Bible is full of mighty encouragers. Pick a character that stands out to you and study their ways.
Look at Examples in Your Life
Who encourages you? Pay attention to those who are encouraging you right now. Mimic some of those qualities with others.
Practice, Practice, Practice
To develop any new skill, it takes diligent practice. We often times will see that the more we do something, the easier it is for us thus the more comfortable we feel.
After we have allowed the gift of encouragement to grow within our lives, we must look for practical ways to use it. Here are a few of my suggestions:
We have to be are aware of those around us who need to be uplifted. It can be someone who doesn’t get any attention from others. It can be someone who is working hard to accomplish great things for the Lord. It can be someone who is struggling to do the right thing. Pay attention because someone is in need of your uplifting words.
Tell yourself that you are going to encourage a certain amount of people every day. Start slowly with just one person a day. You can do it face to face or by simply sending a text, Facebook message, or even a card. Just make contact with someone every day. Some of the most powerful words of encouragement don’t require long drawn out letters, but can be as easy as telling someone you’re praying for them.
When someone is in the midst of a spiritual warfare, it is important that we redirect their focus back on God. One of Satan’s greatest tools is distracting us away from our God and the things that really matter. This means reminding them Who is in control, and of His faithfulness. Sometimes in the midst of a storm, we forget the ways God has worked in our lives in the past. Remind them just as Moses reminded the Israelites time and time again of the mighty works God did on their behalf in delivering them from Egypt.
Share Personal Victories
This is one of the most important aspects of encouragement, and one that we as Christians don’t use enough. It is absolutely essential that we share our personal victories with others. People need to know how God has helped you through difficult times so they can have hope that He will help them as well. When God has worked mightily in your life, tell someone about it!
It is important that we know the impact encouragement can have on other’s lives. It has the power to give lasting effects because it gives the greatest gift of all…hope. Now that truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Encourage somebody today! Trust me, you will be the one more blessed by doing so. May our God bless you as we all strive to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!