Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsThursday 12 Nov 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
There’s no doubt that people need encouragement. Just ask any counsellor or clergyman who deals with people, and you’ll get the same answer. There are many hurt people who have nowhere to turn, or no friend to talk to.
What about those who carry inside themselves hurt feelings or guilt or fears that they don’t share with others? I’m sure there are many like that who keep those feelings to themselves and don’t want to talk about them. All around us there are people who are crushed by life and have nowhere to turn. Their marriage is falling apart or their financial affairs are in a mess and they’re worried about their kids. Maybe their health is in jeopardy with some bad news from their doctor.
We Need to Belong
That’s why it’s so important to be an encourager and lend a hand. God made us to mix with others. You were made for this connection, and there is a universal need to belong somewhere. From the moment we’re born, we long for the warmth of love and acceptance from others. In the Bible we read Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) which says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength“.
Maybe that’s how you feel today, and you’re very discouraged, unable to smile about life. That’s the time you need someone to come alongside and bring encouragement, and that’s when the church is so important. Church is different to other organisations, because you can be yourself and find encouragement from like-minded people.
A lot of people don’t understand what Christianity is all about. It’s about relationships with God and with other people—we read in the Gospel of Matthew:
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39 -NLT).
We Must Encourage Each Other
Why is encouragement so important? Because the Bible says we must offer that to others. Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) says: “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” Eternity is at stake here, because Jesus will return and he will ask, Did you offer help and encouragement to my people?.
“Let us not neglect our meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25a – NLT)
You may well ask, How do I do it?. Well, the Bible has the answer to that as well. In the previous verse, Hebrews 10:24 it says: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds”. Maybe you have a gift of encouragement and find it easy. That’s really good, because God has given you that gift—use it creatively.
Others may find it a bit more difficult, and it won’t happen unless we plan ahead. What’s wrong with dropping a short note in the post or email someone with a brief message saying you’re thinking about them? You’ll be amazed at the result. Or use the phone to speak for a few minutes with that lonely friend you know who can’t get out of the house.
We Should Be Willing to Get Close to Others
Sometimes the best way to encourage isn’t through words at all—it’s through listening. It’s by trying to understand the other person. Did you know that understanding is better than giving advice? Howard Hendricks made a wonderful statement once that went like this: “You can impress people at a distance; you can only impact them up close. The general principal here is this: the closer the personal relationship, the greater the potential for impact”.
“Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13a – NIV)
I like his idea there of getting close to people and sharing with them. You can’t do that from a distance. In fact, Scripture says we should do something special everyday. Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) says: “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”. Unless we do it each day, we can forget. Hidden opportunities for encouragement will surface only as we are sensitive to other people, and look out for those opportunities.
Have a read sometime of Proverbs 12:25 in your Bible; it says: “Worry weighs a person down. An encouraging word cheers a person up”. Can you think of friends that have said the right word at the right time? It was as if God sent them to you, as an encourager.