“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thes. 5:11
As I enjoy Jesus, confess sin regularly, and forgive others quickly, it has become much easier to love and encourage others. I have realized that I can’t try to fill the cup of others if mine is empty. I have also realized that I need others in my life. And relationships take time. I have learned that I have to invest in others, and that takes prayerful planning and intentionality.
We were made in the image of the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The Trinity has enjoyed perfect fellowship from before the foundation of the world and for all eternity. And God made us for communion and fellowship as well. If we don’t invest in the people in our lives and seek to encourage them, we will be missing out on God’s blessings. To encourage others means to instill courage in them, to love them, to strengthen them by investing time in them. Ultimately, it means pointing them to Jesus, so that they too might find the hope and the happiness that comes from making Him their first love. We are able to love and encourage others because of the great love that we have been shown by God. And when you’ve been forgiven much, you love much (Luke 7:47). After you’ve made extending forgiveness an Essential in your life (#3), loving and encouraging others will be much easier for you. Let the love of Christ flood your heart so that you can be a channel of that love to the people in your life.
One place in particular where it is essential for us to love and encourage others is in our local church. If you are not part of a local, Bible-believing church, let me just encourage you to make that a top priority for you and your family. Seek out like-minded believers with whom you can worship and fellowship. This is vital not only to your spiritual life but theirs as well. And if you are a church member, one of the greatest encouragements you can give your pastor and your fellow members is your presence. Yes, this is the pastor’s wife coming out in me! It may not seem like much, but just you being there is a tremendous encouragement to your brothers and sisters in Christ. When you aren’t there, they miss out on your fellowship, being able to worship with you, and the spiritual gifts and talents that you bring to the body of Christ. So many deep and nourishing relationships are built in the church, so make sure you are taking advantage of your church’s worship and prayer services. Remember Hebrews 10:25, “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”