Overcoming Discouragement by Encouraging Others – Part 2: How to Encourage

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

father-sonLast week, in Part: 1 – Who to Encourage, we briefly reviewed a list of scriptures that gave us several examples of those we can begin encouraging. This week, we’ll look at what the Bible has to say about how to encourage others.

For some, especially those who love to be around people, encouraging others comes easy. They don’t even have to think twice about it. It’s a natural part of who they are. They’re just as comfortable talking to somebody they met one minute ago, as they are talking to someone they’ve known for many years. These positive, bubbly, and joy-filled people always seem to say the right things at the right times. You leave their presence believing you can do anything!

For others, like me, it’s a learned skill. I’m so grateful our mother sat us down at the kitchen table and had us write thank you notes early in our childhood. While it was a good beginning, writing an encouraging card or letter can still be quite a process for me today. Pondering. Writing. Proofreading. Editing. Using a dictionary and a thesaurus for the best word that adequately says what I’m trying to express. Editing some more. . . If you can relate, I recommend getting suggestions from writing resources like this book, for example.

What does the Bible have to say about how to encourage others? We can encourage others:

 With God’s Word/Scripture
“Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (NIV)

With Our Words
“He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece.” Acts 20:2 (NIV)

By Our Faith
“That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12 (NIV)

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.” 1 Thessalonians 3:7 (NIV)

With Prophecy
“For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” 1 Corinthians 14:31 (NIV)

With Letters
“So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.” Acts 15:30-31 (NIV)

“With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.” 1 Peter 5:12 (NIV)

As a Father Would His Own Children
“Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11 (NAS)

Read that last verse again. We can encourage others “as a father would his own children.” I love that! I think of my own father and my heavenly Father and how they have nurtured, encouraged, and cared for me because of their great love for me. Reaching out to others with this kind of care and devotion is sure to make a significant difference in a person’s life.

In Part 3, we’ll review a few scriptures regarding what to encourage. For now, continue to pray about who the Lord would like you to reach out to.

Prayer: Father, no matter how we encourage others, remind us to do so with genuine love – as you have loved us. Amen.

 

Image courtesy of Felipe Daniel Reis

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