The Encourager

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

I Thessalonians 5:9-11, ESV

 

I believe that one of the most important things for Christians to remember is their responsibility to encourage one another. While it is true we have God-given standards that we must maintain, it is critical that we remember that God does not want us to fall under His wrath, but under His salvation. And while it is true that we must warn one another, and even discipline one another when such discipline is required, our primary duty is to encourage and build up.

 

I think all of us can readily call to mind those who have had such a talent for encouragement in our own lives. Maybe it was your parents, who always rooted for your endeavors even when you made mistakes. Perhaps it was that teacher who built you back up when you were discouraged from just not "getting it" as quickly as the rest of the class. Or maybe it was a coach who was especially adept at building you back up after what seemed to you the most miserable performance ever.

 

It is such people in our lives that we have the most love and devotion. They are the ones who believed in you, even when you were having trouble believing in yourself. They are the ones who spurred you on to accomplishments that you may have felt to be impossible for one such as you to achieve. These people make you feel good just by being in their presence, and sometimes just by thinking of them when you are not. I have had a number of such people in my own life, and I know from sweet experience how badly needed they are. In fact, I married one such person and I believe that it has made all the difference in the direction my life has taken. Perhaps you can relate because you have been blessed in such a way.

 

So when God gives us the command to encourage one another and build each other up, He is giving no small responsibility. The basic human need for encouragement is every bit as vital for our existence as water is for our bodies. And just as a day or two without water can threaten our very existence, the withholding of life-giving encouragement is just as dangerous.

 

But, what can we do when we are not so blessed as to be around encouraging people? For one thing, you can reassess your friends. You can rethink your employment situations, and even remove yourself from the poisonous environment of poor coaches and teammates. You could even run away from home or seek a divorce if things got rough. You could leave the church and even check out of society completely.

 

Or...

 

you could change the environment you are in. You could begin to try your own hand at encouraging others and building them up. It might just be that the unencouraging people you just seem to run into so often are a mere reflection of what they see in you. Much of life, I have found, is an "echo" where you have a tendency to get back exactly what you have been dishing out. The fact is that God loves us so much that He does not want us to suffer the slings and arrows of our fellow men, nor does He want others to suffer from the unkind remarks and actions that we might be tempted to make. 

 

So we can "encourage one another, and all the more" as we go through life. You know what it has meant to you to have such people in your own life, and you know what it means to you now to have a loving Father in heaven who encourages you on a daily basis. We need that building up in our own lives, and it is important for us to remember that others need the same thing from us.

 

By God's grace we are going to heaven, some day. if we do not become discouraged from the path. We can help others get there as well. It will not always be easy, but if we will encourage one another and build one another up, I believe that we will find that path to be most pleasant. Never forget that people truly need your encouragement just as surely as they need water for their daily lives. Otherwise, they are going to wither. Since that is the case, let us give one another that life-giving encouragement that each one of us so desperately needs.