We were designed to live in community, strengthening one another through intentional encouragement. Here are 5 ways to encourage one another.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I will never forget the day a vase full of flowers arrived at my doorstep. I was embarking on a daunting new work project. I was second guessing myself, feeling unqualified and unworthy. My friend Brittany knew how I was struggling. I needed an extra dose of courage to start the project. Being a faithful friend, Brittany sent flowers with a short message that reminded me of who God says I am and how he had qualified me for this project. Her words inspired me and I kept that note taped to my laptop screen long after the flowers had wilted.
To encourage literally means to “inspire with courage, to advance, to assist.” Encouragement means marrying word and deed to help or advance another. It is love in action as we show up, speak truth, help practically, and cheer relentless for one another. My friend Brittany is one of the most loyal cheerleaders in my life. She puts her support into tangible gifts and legible words that fill my heart with courage and advance me in the call of God on my life. This is what we are called to be for one another as members of the body of Christ.
The reality is we all need courage to press on as we climb the mountains and as we journey through the valleys of life. We were designed to do life in community, with brothers and sisters who uphold our weary arms on the tough days as much as they celebrate with us on the good ones. To give and receive encouragement we must be humble enough to vulnerably share our need for courage when life is hard, and we must be generous enough to give of our time, gifts and even our convenience to show up and fill another with courage from our infinite supply of hope in Christ.
We will each express encouragement differently based on our unique gifts and personalities. There’s no formula here to follow, but the scriptures say “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24). So in the spirit of considering the practical “how to” of encouragement, I want to offer 5 ways to consider how you might grow in your unique expression of intentional encouragement. I hope these ideas serve as kindling as the Holy Spirit burns in you a passion and creativity for encouraging those you do life with.
5 Ways to Encourage Others:
1. Remind them of who God says they are.
Recently, my husband Ryan had a friend text him a reminder of a word spoken over him last year. It meant so much to Ryan not only to reread that word about his identity, but that his friend remembered it. We all too easily forget who God says we are. The old lies can creep in, but when a trusted friend reminds you of the truth over your life discouragement dissipates. Let’s be THAT kind of friend. The friend who pays attention to words spoken over others. The friend who asks God to give them eyes to others the way He does and then TELLS THEM. Remind the people around you who God says they are and watch their courage grow.
2. Follow up on things that matter in their life.
Be intentional about following up on areas where your friends are trusting God. I have started adding other people’s life events to my personal planner. My memory is not good enough to bank on, so I jot down notes in my calendar about when a friend is starting a new job, or when their court hearing will be, or their doctor’s appointment. There are things that are going on in the lives of people around you that they need an extra dose of courage to face. Just the fact of following up with a timely call or text or a visit communicates their value and significance not only to you but to God.
3. Show up and meet practical needs.
Repeatedly in God’s word he tells his people to take courage because He is with them. As the body of Christ, we carry his presence wherever we go and it is his presence that brings courage in times of fear and distress. Just knowing you are not alone when facing something difficult or exhausting can be the best source of courage. So let’s show up for one another, let’s bring his presence into challenging atmospheres and use our God-given gifts to partner practically in another’s time of need. This may look like going to the home of a friend recovering from surgery to cook and clean. Or maybe it looks like driving your truck over and helping a friend move. However you are prompted to show up and partner your time or resources with a practical need, let’s be friends who couple word and deed to practically and personally encourage one another.
4. Cheer them on in their calling.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Let’s be relentless cheerleaders who use our words to affirm God’s calling in others. There are enough people in the world who are nay-sayers and doubters, who view people in light of their imperfect past instead of their God-given destiny. We can use our words to fill the people around us with courage telling them they are made for more, made for something big and significant in God’s eyes. When you cheer others on, Christ in you unleashes courage and diminishes anxiety and fear in the hearts of his people. Grab a megaphone, and cheer on!
5. Share God’s word.
Truth always encourages. Share God’s word with the people around you. Tell the story, text the verse, share the truth of scripture with others. Our words can never compare to God’s. His are perfectly penned to move hearts from fear to faith, from discouragement to bravery, from chaos to peace. The Bible is packed full of promises for us to find courage in. Let’s generously share his words of truth and hope with others.
God thank you for filling me with courage through faith in you! Would you fill me with fresh passion and creativity to be a conduit of your courage in the lives of people around me? Give me insight and ideas that will bless, strengthen, and encourage the people you have placed in my life. The Word says I have your divine nature, let it flow through me in word and deed to bring courage to the discouraged in my community. Let your name be made great Father in and through my life this week Lord!