Tools to Thrive as a Man of God Day 4: Love and Encouragement
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)
The stereotype of a man is that he is supposed to be strong, independent, and doesn’t need help from anyone. He doesn’t share emotions or speak from the heart. However, this is not the desire or picture God would have for a man. If men are going to thrive in their service for God, they need to show love and accept love. They need to encourage others and be encouraged themselves.
Encouragement often begins by placing your focus on others instead of yourself. Let’s be honest—most of the time, we are selfish human beings. We want to take care of ourselves and we don’t generally care about others around us. However, if our goal in life is to become like Christ, this desperately needs to change. When Jesus was in this world, all He did was show love and compassion to everyone around Him. We must seek to do the same. We need to take an interest in our wives, family and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Here is the real challenge for most men: in order to learn about what is going on in others’ lives, we have to talk to them! That’s right, men; we need to engage in conversation! Some men may find this part easy, but I think most of us would agree that this isn’t something we love to do. We can talk sports or weather, but we don’t want to go deeper than that. We have to push ourselves to show the people around us that we really do care, so we can seek to encourage them. Encouragement often means we show sympathy and empathy; it means we show compassion and let them know we are praying for them. Jesus was tender when He dealt with people, and as men, we ought to follow that example no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Now, let’s flip the coin. Part of thriving as a man of God is also allowing yourself to accept the love and encouragement other Christians show you! If this is going to happen, we need to let the people close to us know what is going on in our lives. We have to be willing to be vulnerable and to open up so people know how to pray for us and encourage us. You’ll never find a healthy relationship where there is only one person willing to open up. Whether this is between you and your wife, a friend, or God, we have to find a way to open up with those around us and let them help. Satan is too powerful to face alone; his temptations are strong, and our flesh is weak. We need support from the people around us, but we also must be willing to let down our guard and let them help us.
As men, let’s take a step out of our comfort zone. Let’s build one another up instead of tearing each other down. Encouragement is a vital tool we need in order to stay committed as men of God, helping us thrive in our service to Him.