Last Sunday we looked at the part of Romans in chapter 15 that says ” Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up” and I gave three ways in which we can grow in our practice of being kind and being up others. If you remember, I challenged you to work these into your daily habits. How have you done this week? Here’s a reminder of what I said:
Ephesians 5:8 (NLT) — 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
We talked about the difference between “I” and “Christ in me” and how the former, although already dead, needs putting on the altar each and every day. The latter is one of the best definitions of what it means to be a Christian that I know. Christ is living in me. So, because that is true, I need to practise the selfless kind of life that Jesus had. One of those things that Jesus did was that he was tremendously encouraging to those who needed it. He had a way of lifting their spirits.
Christ in me understands that the weak Christian (check the context of Romans 14 and 15) isn’t weak because they have chosen to be weak. They have convictions over certain issues and honest questions about honest problems. They have vulnerabilities in areas that others don’t have and they know their weakness better than you do.
Encouraging doesn’t mean that we have to remind them of their weakness. It means to give them encouragement to keep going. As Paul says in the text above, to bring light to their path. This is about encouraging them to be true to their convictions, to honour God with their convictions.
Let them know that you are thankful for them
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) — 22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Paul made it a habit to tell people that he was thankful to God for then. Read the first few verses of most of his letters and he begins telling them things like: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” or “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you”..
Let’s not be shy about encouraging each other like this. The writer of Proverbs was right when he said that a joyful is good for you. It is! We need to be people who look for the things that are strong in others lives and praise them for it – and then praise God for it.
Tell them that you value them and that they bring something good and helpful to your life
Give hope by telling others what God is doing in your own life
Ecclesiastes 9:4 (NLT) — 4 There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”
What a quote that is!!!! The writer of Ecclesiastes is actually being encouraging .. he is saying .. so long as you are alive ..even if you’re struggling … there is hope. He is trying to instill hope in us.
Isaiah says a similar thing
Isaiah 60:1 (ESV) — 1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
How do you do that? Well simply by recalling all of the ways God has been faithful to you – this will then in turn remind them that God is faithful to them.
Psalm 19:8 (ESV) — 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;