The Power of Encouragement
The Power of Encouragement
This week Blaine reminded us of the importance of encouragement in our daily walks. Blaine began his instruction by asking the question, what is encouragement? While encouragement is often looked at as the motivation of others Blaine explained that it goes deeper than that. During his lesson, Blaine explained that encouragement is to come along beside. In essence he said it was to get in the game with them.
Can you think of a time where someone gave you this type of encouragement?
How did this encouragement help you overcome your obstacle(s)?
What impact does only receiving words of encouragement with no action encourage you?
Often times when someone is going through a tough time the person who is suffering will feel more impact from someone who is suffering with them or has suffered as they have in the past. In the Bible, David was under siege by his best friend’s father, a rather difficult situation to try and resolve. Regardless of his fears for his relationships David went and beseeched his friend for aid. Let’s read 1 Samuel 20: 1 – 13
1 David escaped from Prophets Village. Then he ran to see Jonathan and asked, “Why does your father Saul want to kill me? What have I done wrong?”
2 “My father can’t be trying to kill you! He never does anything without telling me about it. Why would he hide this from me? It can’t be true!”
3 “Jonathan, I swear it’s true! But your father knows how much you like me, and he didn’t want to break your heart. That’s why he didn’t tell you. I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I’m only one step ahead of death.”
4 Then Jonathan said, “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.”
5 David answered: Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival,[a] and I’m supposed to eat dinner with your father. But instead, I’ll hide in a field until the evening of the next day. 6 If Saul wonders where I am, tell him, “David asked me to let him go to his hometown of Bethlehem, so he could take part in a sacrifice his family makes there every year.”
7 If your father says it’s all right, then I’m safe. But if he gets angry, you’ll know he wants to harm me. 8 Be kind to me. After all, it was your idea to promise the Lord that we would always be loyal friends. If I’ve done anything wrong, kill me yourself, but don’t hand me over to your father. 9 “Don’t worry,” Jonathan said. “If I find out that my father wants to kill you, I’ll certainly let you know.” 10 “How will you do that?” David asked.
11 “Let’s go out to this field, and I’ll tell you,” Jonathan answered. When they got there, 12 Jonathan said: I swear by the Lord God of Israel, that two days from now I’ll know what my father is planning. Of course I’ll let you know if he’s friendly toward you. 13 But if he wants to harm you, I promise to tell you and help you escape. And I ask the Lord to punish me severely if I don’t keep my promise.
I pray that the Lord will bless you, just as he used to bless my father. 14-15 Someday the Lord will wipe out all of your enemies. Then if I’m still alive, please be as kind to me as the Lord has been. But if I’m dead, be kind to my family.
At what point in this story did Jonathan come along side David’s situation to encourage his friend?
How effective you think Jonathan’s words of encouragement were after Jonathan came in alongside him to see his situation?
Getting next to someone and seeing and feeling their pain is great but how do we go about encouraging one another effectively? Blaine continued by expanding on the concept of getting in the game by mentioning a few means by which to do so. Two methods mentioned by Blaine were in extending grace to the worst and second, by showing others how you believe in them.
In what ways can you show others that you believe in them?
It is always easy to say you forgive someone and extend grace in your words, but how can we show them that they are forgiven?
Let’s review the example provided in Luke 15 17 – 22 (The Parable of the Prodigal Son)
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
In what ways does the father encourage his son in the ways we discussed above?
Bringing it Home
Finally Blaine reflected on the importance of why we encourage. He offered five reasons to encourage one another.
· Keep the feint-hearted from quitting
· Draw out the potential in others
· Help people see God in their trials
· Strengthen others and build their faith
· Strengthen the church as both a community and family
Of the 5 above, which two are the times when you need encouragement from your brothers and sisters?
Which two represent the most common reasons why you encourage others?
While we all have our strengths and our weaknesses, our likes and dislikes in communication, the power of encouragement has the potential to impact each one of these areas. As we continue in our own walks with faith, let us remember the importance of coming in alongside others in their struggles. If we are going to conquer our trials we must always remember that we are not alone and that we have brothers and sisters in the fight with us. Encouraging one another is just one way we can help each other feel that strength in God.
Please keep the Reaney family in your prayers as Lisa continues to heal in Frenso.