The Power of Encouragement
We know from both James and Proverbs that we either bless or curse others with our tongues.
21 The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences. (Proverbs 18:21)
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to be “nice” or to encourage people that we either don’t know well or are strangers to us? It’s almost effortless to smile at someone in passing, or speak a kind word to someone you’re standing in line with. However, for some reason, we have more difficulty at times (at least I do) doing those same things with the people we know well and with our family. It’s no harder to encourage our children or our spouses than it is a stranger, but we seem to be lacking when it comes to showing “kindness” on a regular basis to our family members. In fact, we may find it to be true that we encourage those who we are closest to less than total strangers! (It should not be like this).
Our family may be starving for our attention or an encouraging word from us…and they deserve our best “kind” words and “encouragement” but they too often only get our leftovers and our crumbs of “kindness.” Often it is not what we say to our families, but what we don’t say. Do we seem distant to them because we are consumed with ourselves or our priorities and responsibilities? If we, as men, become too focused on what we need or want to accomplish in life (or just on a daily basis) we may be sending the wrong message to our family that we are “too busy” for them or we have “more important” things to do than speak life and encouragement into their lives. Are we telling those we love the most that they are not important by the sheer fact that we do not routinely assure them that they are?
There is a war raging to stop us from encouraging others in our life. Encouragement is the “life’s blood” of the spiritual lives of those around us. Without encouragement, our faith may dwindle or die a slow and painful death due to the lack of others “cheering you on” in the faith. Look at what Hebrews 3:12-13 says:
12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.[a] Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
Notice that verse 13 says that we should warn each other every day…in other words: we need constant and routine encouragement from others in the faith.
If we are not doing this on a regular basis to those around us, then we need to do two things:
1. Figure out what is going on in your life to produce a critical, nitpicking spirit, and then allow God to heal that critical spirit in you.
**by the way…nitpicking is the opposite of encouragement!
2. Give away the same encouragement that God has given you.
Encouragement is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal, and it has the following effects on the lives of others:
1. It can reduce pressure of stress in others’ lives when you encourage them
2. It can dampen the power of temptation in others’ lives when you encourage them
3. It has the power to produce spiritual endurance in those who we encourage.
(ie: going through a tough time, and someone comes along and tells you how God helped them through a similar situation)
Every man…..craves encouragement…but we get very little of it
Every man……needs encouragement, but not every man gets it
Make it a point this week to hold your tongue and choose to build someone up!