This last week I have been impressed by our unique creative ability to encourage one another. It began at the opposite end of the encouragement spectrum as I was convicted around silent critical thoughts. When one of those critical thought patterns crept out of my mouth unintentionally I was mortified. I realized afresh that I had to begin to think only positive thoughts about others so I would be safe from saying something negative I would  later regret. Of course we may disagree with another’s viewpoint but we do not need to allow that point of disagreement to morph into character assassination. I decided to trade in criticism for compliments!  I did this non verbally but soon it naturally flowed from  positive thoughts to positive words.

Our role in partnering with God in building each other up is so powerful. Every day we have opportunities to encourage one another. God is clear that this is what He wants for each of us:

1 Thessalonians 5:11&14 (AMP)

11 Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

14 And we earnestly beseech you, brethren, encourage the timid andfainthearted, help andgive your support to the weak souls, [and] be very patient with everybody [always keeping your temper].

I love this scripture. What we say can build up or tear down. We can build another’s courage and we tell them they can do all things in Christ Jesus. We build courage into their hearts as we share the testimonies of Joshua and Gideon and Ester who bravely faced the enemy on the promises of God and saw their people delivered. We build faith and courage and trust into each other through our own testimonies of the deliverance of God. When we share scriptures for healing, protection and provision it breathes hope into the hearts and minds of others. When we hear the words of another encouraging us to stand fast to the promises of God it builds faith into our hearts. We need these reminders during this time of waiting on God during this Corona crisis.  All of us face fears and challenges. We may not be able to solve a global crisis but we can watch for opportunities to encourage and build up those within our sphere of influence.

Every time we encourage someone else with a promise of God we are in fact preaching and participating in a faith -building endeavor.

We are always on one side or another of encouragement. We either need it or are in a position to give it.

Romans 15:1ESV

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

This is such a convicting scripture. We have an obligation out of the love Christ has shown us to bear the failings and weaknesses of each other. We are to please each other and to look for ways to build each other up.

Our words can make all the difference is someone’s day.

Beyond our words our demeanor is able to infuse hope into another’s heart. We are spiritual sons and daughters but we are also spiritual mothers and fathers. Our confidence in the goodness and promises of God is transmitted like sweet perfume. The confidence a parent gives to a child enables them to feel safe and secure. Our confidence in God changes the atmosphere and steadies the grounding of those around us.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the latter one an aroma from death to death [a fatal, offensive odor], but to the other an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is adequate and sufficiently qualified for these things?

Isn’t it amazing what simply being a friend and speaking words of encourage to another can do?

Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

In order to encourage another we must seek encouragement ourselves. Listen to your teachers of choice. Use this extra time we have to spend more time in the word so we are prepared when we meet someone who needs us!

By the way a word of encouragement of affirmation doesn’t always have to have a spiritual tone. Just recognizing someone’s talent or skill or their kindness goes a long way. My friend told me how much she has admired my garden this week and made my day!

This week lets ask the Lord whose load we are to help bear. What can we do to lighten it? What words can we speak that will feel like apples of Gold, a gift so special that it will light up the countenance of a friend and encourage their heart.