SPECIAL NOTE: I wrote this devotion in 2013 but I felt it is important for us to think on how we can encourage one another especially during these dismal times in our country. We need to encourage each other daily or we can be overwhelmed by our political situations at present. Be encouraged as you read this today.
One thing that I enjoy doing more than anything else in this world is to encourage someone. I have always loved people, but when I became a Christian, the Lord enlarged my heart and vision to reach out and encourage others. It fulfills my calling and gives me joy.
We all have different gifts from the Holy Spirit it is true. However, each of us is called to encourage, build up and edify one another in the Lord. The Bible tells us that times will get harder and that we should encourage one another.
Paul, the Apostle, wrote a second letter to the Corinthians after he had chastised them in his first letter for all the dissension and problems they had allowed. In this second letter, it is easy to see his love for these people and his concern for them. He even opens his own heart and allows us to see how God used someone in his life to encourage him.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7 reads: "For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. But God who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more."
These are words of encouragement that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He wanted them to know that it wasn't just the coming of Titus that helped him through depression, and difficulties. It was the words which Titus encouraged him with...that the Corinthians truly wanted to see Paul again. What good news to this man who had taken them to task for their behavior in Christian matters!
Encouragement has a ripple effect almost like throwing a stone into a quiet pond. When we tell someone encouraging things, they in turn will spread this to others.
To give you a personal example, I was talking with a friend recently, and she mentioned the name of another lady whom I had not seen in a while. I told her how much I respected and admired this woman. Some time later, she had a chance to see this lady and she passed on my words of encouragement. I received a note in the mail a week later from this woman who thanked me for my kind words to our mutual friend. What a pleasant surprise I had!
By the same token, we can also pass along negative statements, gossip, or other things which I assure you will inevitably find its way back to a person being discussed. The choice of either encouraging or discouraging others is always ours. However, the results of each are quite different.
In the Scripture, the Corinthians told Titus how much they loved Paul which encouraged Titus as he saw their changed heart. Then, Titus told this good news to Paul which carried the encouragement on. The letter Paul wrote to them sent that encouragement and love right back to them to bless them. It was a circle of blessing.
Whom can you encourage today? We have people all around us in our homes, neighborhoods, communities and churches. We need to remember to lift them up with words that bring encouragement to their spirit and build their faith. As we do this, encouragement will return to us as well. Selah!