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Encouragement is something that everybody wants but few know how to give.

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For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. (Romans 1:11-13)

 

Sometimes encouragement makes all the difference. Writing encouraging notes and sending Bible verses won my husband. The encouraging notes my college roommates left for me have found places in my scrapbooks. Now, I even keep an encouragement file to look at when am feeling down. Encouragement is something that everybody wants but few know how to give. The New Testament mentions the idea of encouragement over one hundred times, so it’s imperative for us to learn. Its theme is essential to a functioning Body of Christ.

Corporate encouragement is essential in the process of starting churches, as well as building and growing communities of faith. New Testament letters were sent to encourage, instruct and exhort the recent converts and beginning fellowships (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because the church is a relational experience – a family – we cannot grow spiritually in isolation. Encouragement is mutual. It’s what believers provide for one another by sharing the love of Jesus and scripture. Without the gospel message, we would have nothing with which to encourage each other, limited knowledge of God to ground our faith, no doctrine on which to build hope, and no way to understand so extensively the meaning of genuine love (Hebrews 10:19-22). Encouragement is meant to be given, shared, and extended to one another (Colossians 3:16).

Encouragement is also personal. We give it by coming along side, doing faith and life together one on one, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. It’s giving support, lending aid, praying for and providing resources for an individual. Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit would come and live in us, lead us in truth, and strengthen belief (Acts 9:31). Let’s do this encouragement. If you desire to get better at encouragement, try studying the scriptures diligently and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you something new about Jesus Christ. Then share your new insight from God’s word with a family member, another believer, someone in your life group or at church, or write a note to give. Encourage at least one person with Jesus today.

 

For whatever was written in former days
was written for our
 instruction,
that through endurance and through
 the encouragement
of the Scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you
 to live in such harmony with one another,
in accord with Christ Jesus,
 
that together you may with one voice
glorify
 the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 – Romans 15:4-6

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By Donna Burns

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