I used to have a friend who once shared with me her exasperation with her husband, saying, "Why should I have to be his cheerleader?" Apparently, there were times when this woman's husband looked to her for encouragement, and instead of responding with a kind word of reassurance, she became indignant and indifferent. Eventually, my friend and her husband were separated and divorced.
What is encouragement? It's "the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope." The Bible makes it clear that followers of Christ are called to be encouragers. "Encourage each other and build each other up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 AMP) Scripture even goes so far as to say that encouragement can prevent believers from developing a hard heart, and from falling into sin. "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)
Life has a way of pushing us down, but we have the power to lift others up with a kind word of reassurance. "Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up." (Proverbs 12:25 NLT) And we are called to make a difference in someone's life with an expression of support, so that they, in turn, can make a difference in someone else's life. "Let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds." (Hebrews 10:24 AMP) We should never doubt that words of hope have the ability to save marriages, families, and ministries.
In chapter six of the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul talks about how believers are engaged in a war with the forces of evil. The Message Bible says, "Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." (Ephesians 6:18 MSG) In a way, you and I ARE called to be cheerleaders, especially for our fellow believers. When the Lord puts someone in your path who needs a word of encouragement, will you be their spiritual cheerleader so that they can become all that God has created them to be?
Prayer: Lord, enable and anoint me by the power of Your Spirit to be the encourager that You have called me to be. Teach me how to "pray for [my] brothers and sisters" in Christ, and to keep their spirits up "so that no one falls behind or drops out." Thank You that my words of encouragement will build others up and draw them to You!
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