To listen to Nancy’s answer recorded from Moody radio, click below.
We all need and appreciate a word of encouragement. To be an encourager goes beyond random words and acts of kindness. It is a person who continually gives and encourages others by words, love, hope, and support. An encourager is a person who loves God and loves others no matter the circumstance. God commands us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love and serve others. Simply put, God expects us all to be Godly encouragers.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5).
“Now also for this very reason, having brought in all earnestness, supplement into your faith virtue, and into virtue knowledge, and into knowledge self-control, and into self-control endurance, and into endurance godliness, and into godliness brotherly affection, and into brotherly affection love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
Like most all of the things that God calls us to do, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to make it happen. It is not our natural inclination to think of others before ourselves, so most of us have to learn to die to our selfish desires and choose to put others’ needs before our own. Through prayer and studying the Bible, a Christian will develop a selfless, genuine, and humble heart for others. They will be able to teach those who struggle to experience peace and joy in their pain. An encourager is a good listener and has the gift of seeing hope in the worst of situations. Godly encouragers are friends that are in for the long haul.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Although God has commanded us to encourage one another, sometimes, we do just the opposite. Instead of encouraging, we discourage; Instead of concentrating on the strengths, we look for weaknesses. Instead of giving healthy criticism, we tear down and destroy. When the world sees us, what do they see?
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35)
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5-7).
Being an encourager is a critical piece of Jesus’ command for us to love our neighbor. It is a beautiful way to show others, especially Christians, that they are loved by God no matter what the circumstance might be that they are going through. An encourager is the one that people, who are troubled, will seek out. An encourager can be trusted and will assure others that, no matter what sin they are dealing with, forgiveness can be found in Jesus.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
We can all learn about being an encourager from Ivan Fernandez Anaya. He showed his character on a race track in Navarra, Spain, and in the process, he wound up showing the world true sportsmanship! Ivan is a long-distance runner from Spain who competes in cross country and marathon races. As he was just about to finish a cross country race, he noticed Abel Mutai, a Kenyan athlete who’ had been in the lead, begin to slow down as he approached the finish line. Abel did not speak Spanish, got confused by the signs, and thought he had already won. Ivan saw what was happening. He could have darted past his opponent to win the race himself. Instead, he slowed his own pace, and pointed Abel towards the real finish line so he could win.
“He was the rightful winner,” Ivan said later. “He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” “What would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honor of that medal? What would my Mom think of that?”
Are we the person who, in the midst of our busy lives, stops what we are doing, and tend to the needs of others?
Do we live our lives to always win and be better than anyone else, or are we the one who will selflessly guide the lost, lonely, and hurting to finish their race?