One of the most satisfying things in life is to have the privilege of encouraging someone. Unfortunately, our culture tells us that we are fulfilled by receiving love but, in contrast, Jesus tells us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Amen! If you look at wonderful marriages you will see two people that constantly encourage and build up each other; however, if you look at failing marriages you will see two people picking at and criticizing each other. Likewise, if you look at “on fire” churches, you will see the members encouraging each other and their leadership; conversely, if you look at a dying church you will see division and criticism.
One word of criticism can cut someone down terribly but a word of encouragement can build them up and empower them to accomplish so much more.
The Bible has a lot to say about encouraging each other. For example, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13). Also, “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25). “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thess 5:11).
In all, there are 42 references (in English translations) that urge us to encourage one another. However, the same Greek word parakaleo (used 109 times in the New Testament) is also translated “comfort, exhort, beseech, strengthen, console.”
The Holy Spirit Himself is referred to as the Comforter (the Encourager) in John 14:26.
Remember Barnabas the apostle? His name means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). I want to be a Barnabas!
Photo Attribution: Viktor Forgacs – Unsplash.com