Minister Speaks: Encourage one another
In the New Testament, the word encourage is used 105 times. Samples of those verses… Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Part of Webster’s definition of encourage is “to fill with courage or strength of purpose.” To fill with courage. In Greek, the word translated encourage is, “parakaleo.” It basically means, “to call to one’s side to speak into your life strength and comfort.” Hence, an encourager is one who will speak into your life words that will give you courage and offer comfort and support.
Why do we need to encourage and be encouraged? Simple, life can be difficult and as a follower of Jesus Christ even more difficult, depending on the hostility of the current culture you are living in or maybe working in.
We daily face the challenges of life, the frustrations and disappointments, the hurts and trauma of the unexpected, and the fear and worry of the anticipated. For a Christian, those challenges are to be faced with faith and hope, courage and obedience, often in the face of opposition. Opposition in the form of others, ourselves and desires and circumstances. It can get rough. We need those in our lives that can say those words: “You can do it,” “Hang in there,” “I believe in you,” “Get up and try it again.” And maybe the most powerful words, “You are not alone, I am with you, we can do this together.”
Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble” John 16:33. Not exactly words of encouragement, but words of honesty. Then he added the words of encouragement, “but I have overcome the world.” Living God’s way isn’t easy and will take courage to persevere, and to hang in there through it all. That will take a lot courage and a lot of encouragement.
One of the purposes of the Christian community is to be encouragers. A community that will speak courage and support into each other so that together we can face today and face it well. Based on the above verses, that encouragement needs to come on a daily basis. We can receive encouragement from books and music and media messages, but the greatest source is from the words and actions of those who are with you in the fight. That should reinforce our desire to live in a spiritual community that offers that support.
More than that there should become a motivation to become that type of person, an encourager, one who speaks courage into the hearts of others. We need to be careful of the words we speak, not words of doubt or fear, but words of strength, hope and faith. To do that we need to walk in closeness with the Greatest Encourager of all. In fact, parakaleo, is the root of the word used by Jesus to name His Spirit who was to come and abide with us. The Parakaleo, “He who is called or comes alongside to help.”
Even as Jesus was speaking honestly of the trouble this world would bring, He was also planning the means of our encouragement, Himself, walking with us through it all. It would be my hope that today you would hear His words of encouragement whether through the whisper of His Spirit or the spoken words others.