The New Testament continually calls Christians to encourage one another. “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NASB.” But what does encouraging others actually mean? The word encourage means “to inspire with courage, hope, and confidence,” “to give support to,” or “to stimulate.” All things Christians need from time to time. How can we give each other these different facets of encouragement?
~ We inspire hope, courage, and confidence by cheering them on. If someone has come upon a difficult situation or will be doing something that scares them, your words will mean the world to them. Some things to say could be:
~ You’ll do great!
~ I know you can do it.
~ You’re so good at that.
~ We support each other by standing by them and verbally agreeing with them. When someone takes a stand for what’s right, if feels like they’re the only ones. They’ll need support if they’re going to continue to stand. That’s where we come in. We have the opportunity to add our voice to theirs and stay by them in the fight when everyone else is shouting for them to stop talking.
~ We stimulate each other when we take a stand ourselves. It shows everyone there’s someone willing to fight for truth and it often makes them want to join you. “But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called ‘today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13, NASB.)
Encouraging others is hard work, especially if you don’t get a lot of encouragement. But it means a lot to people and has the ability to change lives. “We urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NASB.)