I am speaking briefly tonight in a women’s group. It is a devotional-ish peek into my life and encouragement.
This topic is tough to me, partly because I am not very good at it. There, I said it.
Encouragement has fallen on both sides of the coin for me. There need to be boundaries in encouragement. It is not like I went into the worst decisions of my life against the counsel of everyone. There are always people who will encourage you to something.
We can encourage for or against. I encourage the high school girls against missionary dating (dating non-Christians). It is not because I don’t like these boys, but it is the lack of common foundation. Everyone needs to be playing the same game, on the same field. The same is true for encouragers and encouragees.
Now let’s see how the bible says it,
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3, NRSV)
This means that I need to plant myself in the word, right alongside my sisters so that we can speak this common language. “I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself,” (Colossians 2:2, NRSV)
There are opportunities for encouragement that we lose. In my experience, the most common opportunities, and ones that break my heart, are amongst married people. As a newlywed, it was so discouraging to have Christians giving the opposite of encouragement to two hopeful lovebirds.
Worst phrase of all time, under any circumstance, “Well, just wait until you have been married for 5 years”. We have heard this phrase in every denomination possible. How sad. We remember each person who told us this, and consider them poor examples. We do not trust their counsel, especially in marriage. That is what happens when we opt out of encouragement, and instead speak carelessly about areas of struggle.
We never need to speak any other words than those of encouragement. Oh, how that plucks a cord in my heart. I needed to hear that out loud. The safest way to ensure this is to offer the words of my mouth to Him, and let Him guide me in all that I say.
Encouraging each other involves knowing first who our Savior is, and then placing those words into the lives of our sisters.
Rule #1, for encouragement. It needs to point back to scripture. There is responsibility in encouragement. We have to make sure that we are being a true asset to our sisters. That means that whatever we say, we are pointing to the word of God.
There is no rule two…I think that is the only rule that we need.
How are you at encouragement? Is it your gift?
Father, thank you for drawing us to you so that you can be multiplied in the world through words of encouragement. Place people in our lives today who need to hear these specific words. Make us extensions of your encouragement that you pour out on us every day.