How To Give Courage to Others – Encouragement
I heard another preacher speaking about encouragement a few months ago – and it really impressed me. The way that he defined encouragement was: “to add courage to”. He said, “A person who gives words of encouragement is helping another person become bolder and braver. By giving encouragement he is adding courage to that person. He is helping a person stand firmer and go farther. On the other hand to discourage a person – is to take away a person’s courage.”
Folks I don’t know about you but I want to be an encourager for Christ. When a person is working for God I want to encourage them to continue on. I want to help Christians keep going – keep on – and do their best. I want Christians to become bolder and braver. I want Christians to stand taller. I want Christians to give their best effort. I want to help them to be successful. I want to give them an added boost. I want to be a godly encourager – how about you?
Let me tell you I’m not much of a runner anymore – but when I was it was always encouraging when I was near the end of a race and I would hear the crowds cheering. It doesn’t matter if you are coming in first place or last place – if people were there cheering you on – it always gives you an added boost. All of us can use encouragement from time to time. All of us can use a pat on the back.
Our text for today comes from the book of Hebrews chapter three and verse thirteen. Follow along with me as I read:
“Encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” Hebrews 3:13 (HCSB)
Today I want us to look at three ways we can encourage one another the first is:
1. You can encourage one another with your WORDS.
This is probably the most common way that we encourage one another – we tell people how much we appreciate them.
Look at what Proverbs chapter twenty five and verse eleven says:
“A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray.” Proverbs 25:11 (HCSB)
The Message Bible says it this way:
“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.” Proverbs 25:11 (MSG)
There is a story about a pastor who was going into retirement and getting ready to leave the church. At his farewell dinner, he tried to encourage one of the members who had been a member for a long time. She was a member of the church before he had arrived there. He said to her, “Don’t be so sad. The next pastor you get might be better than me.” She replied, “That’s what they said last time, but it just keeps getting worse.”
Folks that’s not a word of encouragement is it? But that sure happens sometimes doesn’t it? We open our mouths and insert our foot. We want to say the right thing – but as we start to speak it comes out all wrong. Even when we don’t really mean to say the wrong thing – even when all our intensions are honorable – words sometimes get all twisted around. James gives this word of wisdom:
“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2 (NKJV)
Think about it:
- The effect the words of a parent have on a child.
- The effect the husband’s words have on a wife and vice versa.
- The impact the boss’s words have on an employee.
- Words said in love.
- Words said in anger.
- Words said in encouragement.
- Words said as gossip.
- The last words on a death bed.
- Words have helped shape your lives – just as we have shaped the lives of others.
“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.”
I have a book in my office titled, "Just Folks". It contains a collection of poems by Edgar A. Guest. It was published in 1917. (Note: Edgar A. Guest poems are now in public domain.) I would like to read portions of Mr. Guest’s poem titled "Just Folks":
We’re queer (strange) folks here.
We’ll talk about the weather,
The good times we have together,
But here you’ll never hear of sinnin’
Or any scandal that’s beginnin’.
We’ve got too many other labors
To scatter tales that harm our neighbors.
We’ve one rule here,
An’ that is to be pleasant.
The folks we know are always present,
Or very near.
An’ though they dwell in many places,
We think we’re talkin’ to their faces:
Flaws aren’t so big when folks are near you;
You don’t talk mean when they can hear you.
An’ so no scandal here is started,
Because from friends we’re never parted.
All of us should what to encourage people with the words we say. The task of encouragement is not about you – it is about helping others. It is about saying words that build up – words that give hope – words that give courage.
Our second point today is:
2. You can encourage one another with your ACTIONS.
How many of you know this statement?
Actions speak louder than – WORDS.
There is a lot of truth to that statement isn’t there? Here is a fact:
People notice what you DO.
By our actions – we are setting an example for others to follow.
Listen to what James chapter one and verse twenty two says:
“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22 (NKJV)
Did you know that love is more about action than it is about emotion? At least it is as defined in the Bible. Let’s look at how the Bible defines love. Follow along with me as I read First Corinthians chapter thirteen verses four thru seven:
“Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB)
Love is action rather than emotion. Why do I say that? Here is the reason. I can choose to be patient or not to be patient. I can choose to show kindness or not to show kindness. I can choose to brag or not to brag. I can choose to be self-centered or to be Christ-centered. I can choose to hold a grudge or to let it go. I choose to be loving toward other people or to indifferent. You see – love is action rather than emotion.
We all set examples for others to follow. I can remember growing up and putting on my dads shoes and shirt and walking around the house when I was little. Of course the clothes were too big for me. But I can remember how much I wanted to be grown up and be like my father. Do any of you remember that? How you wanted to grow up and be like your parents. My dad set an example for me. I wanted to be like him when I grew up. Did you know that by your actions – you set an example for others to follow? Look at what Paul says in Ephesians:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.” Ephesians 5:1 (MSG)
Paul also says:
“Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (HCSB)
Folks our actions speak louder than words – let us be examples of encouragement by what we do.
You are to act like your Father in heaven. You are to imitate Him with your actions. By imitating our Father in heaven we are setting an example for all the world to see.
That brings us to the third point:
3. You can encourage one another by your ATTITUDE.
Let me ask you a question – when you see half a glass of water sitting on the counter – is the glass half empty or is it half full? Those who have a positive outlook on life see the glass as half full. Some people see life full of problems – others see life full of challenges. What is your outlook on life? We encourage one another by our attitudes.
I am reminded of the story of two shoe salesmen who went to a tropical island where no one wore shoes. The first shoe salesman came back with a negative attitude and was somewhat depressed. He said, “It was so discouraging – NO ONE WORE SHOES! I’ll never sell shoes there.” The second salesman came back and he was all excited. He said, “What great potential! What great opportunity! NO ONE WORE SHOES! I gave away a pair of shoes to the tribal leader and he loved them. All the other tribal members want shoes now. We have a wide open market! NO ONE WORE SHOES!”
What is your outlook on life? Do you need an attitude check? Folks as Christians we should have a positive attitude toward life. Why do I say this – just read the scripture verses found in your notes. Let’s look at the first one under point three:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Folks I’m glad that God can take that which is old and make things new – aren’t you? The next verse says:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Folks I’m glad that Christ gives me strength. Some days the pressures just seem too great for me to bear, but now - “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now let’s look at the thrid one:
“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:38-39 (MSG)
Folks I’m glad that there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that will keep the love of God from reaching me. Aren’t you glad of that too?
You see folks when life gets me down – we have someone who will pick us up. God makes us this promise:
“Those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31 (MSG)
You see God gives us strength each and every day to meet the challenges that we face. If you trust in Him – He will give you strength too. Put your faith in Him. Depend on Him because He is our encourager.
Let me encourage you – to be an encourager. Encourage others with the words you speak to them. Tell them how much you appreciate them – tell them how much you love them. Encourage others with the example you set. Remember – action speaks louder than words. Speak up by being doers of the word – and show people how much you love them by being loving toward them. Encourage others by having a positive outlook on life – you should you know – if Christ is in your life – you are in God’s hands – He is big enough to care for you.
“Encourage each other daily, while it is still called today.” Hebrews 3:13 (HCSB)