What Do You Want To Be? Day 1: Be an Encourager
So that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4, ESV)
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12, ESV)
For this next study I want to focus on different spiritual gifts that the Lord grants to each of us. I won’t be going through each gift, but I will mainly be focusing on character traits that display these gifts: being an encourager, being a giver, being aware, and being plugged in, with the ultimate goal of becoming like Christ. He is the perfect example and the only One that fully displays all these qualities.
Before I begin, I want you to have an open mind. Encouraging may not be your predominant gift or one that comes naturally to you, but I don’t believe we can use that as an excuse not to try. It’s easy to throw in the towel when we think we’re not good at something, but just remember Who we serve and that He can equip us for anything we may ask.
Now let’s talk about being an encourager. Encouragers, brothers and sisters in Christ who are ready to lift me up and cheer me on through all seasons of my life, hold such a special place in my heart. I can distinctly remember times when I was feeling down and maybe even insecure, and comments from encouragers totally turned a day like that around. It’s such an example to us of Christ—lifting one another up rather than speaking harshly or in ways that divide.
Learning to be an encourager, however, must be intentional; it doesn’t just happen unless you put in the effort. You may think of uplifting words or something complimentary toward someone, but it’s useless unless you share it with them. You may look at someone and think they aren’t the kind of person that “needs” encouragement, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we all do. Encouraging and uplifting speech to those around us will also deepen our relationships with them. It’s difficult to be unified with someone who always criticizes those around them and puts them down. Unity can be found where the Lord’s people are genuinely cheering each other on.
One important reason to encourage those around us is that God commanded us to. If you ask me, that’s a pretty good reason to focus in on something. God says in His Word that we are to “comfort those who are in any affliction” (2 Cor. 1:4). Furthermore, it says that we are to do so with the same comfort God has given us. That doesn’t mean we offer encouragement only when we are having a good day—it’s unconditional, just like the God we serve. When we approach the Lord seeking encouragement, it will be found. May this desire to encourage others be found in you and me.
A beautiful thing about encouragement is that it’s an opportunity for us to serve the Lord. His Spirit lives within us, and He can use us to encourage those around us. The thought of being able to be used in such an impactful way by the One who created us is pretty exciting to me. Jesus emphasized the importance of loving others as He loved us (John 15:12). A great way to show love to those around us is through encouragement. In addition to verbally encouraging those around us, we can also do so by writing a text, a letter, by listening, and even taking part in something others are passionate about. There are many avenues for encouragement, and I pray that you may be motivated to pour into those around you in some of these ways.
Encouragement is turning our eyes toward others and filling them in the moment they most desperately need it. We are commanded by God to do it, and He can equip us to become more skilled in this if we boldly ask Him in prayer. He’s the greatest source and example of encouragement, and we can bring this same encouragement to others if we have a willing heart.