I can tell you something about every person you meet today… they all need encouragement. I need it, you need, we all need it, don’t we? The sad thing is that we think we encourage others more than we really do.
One researcher found this out in business: “More than 80 percent of supervisors claim they frequently express appreciation to their subordinates, while less than 20 per cent of the employees reported that their supervisors express appreciation more than occasionally” (Wiley – Roosevelt University study).
So how often do we need encouragement? The Bible says that we are to “encourage one another” daily (Hebrew 13:3).
I’m starting a four part-series on “One Another.” The phrase “one another” is mentioned over 50 times in the New Testament. We really do need one another. God never designed us to live out our Christian faith alone – We grow together, not in isolation. Christianity is a “one another” relationship. Today is about encouragement.
Your Church is only as healthy as your “one anothers!”
One of the greatest encouragers in the Bible was Paul. For example, when he wrote to the Christians at Philippi he said… “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-6). Just like Paul, we can encourage one another today by doing these three things.
#1 Be Thankful for One Another!
Paul thanked God for them…“I thank my God every time I remember you!” By the way, his experience at Philippi wasn’t that great, do you recall what happened? He ended up in prison (Acts 16)! However, an encourager remembers the positive. They notice potential.
He went on to say in verse 5: “…because of your partnership … from the very first day until now.” (vs. 5) (GN) What was he doing? He expressed his gratitude for their work and loyalty. The more specific you are in your encouraging words, the more people feel encouraged. Actively look for ways to thank others!
#2 Be Prayerful for One Another!
I can’t think of a better way to encourage others than to pray for them or with them. Paul said, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy …” (vs. 4) How would you like to have the apostle Paul praying for you? Wouldn’t that be encouraging? By the way, there is nothing wrong with letting people know you are praying for them.
Paul actually shares what he was praying for them (see vs. 9-11). Too often we are too general in our prayers. I find myself praying things like “God, bless them!” That may sound okay, but God wants us to go deeper in our prayers for others. Look for specifics things to pray about. Be intentional about your prayers!
#3 Be Hopeful for One Another!
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (vs. 6)
Take note of that word “confident”. Paul believed in God’s power to change the heart. No person was hopeless. He never gave up on people. This is a great promise of God. Claim it for your kids, for your mate, for yourself.
Paul was talking about faith. Faith is expecting the best from people because of God’s work in them. What God starts, God finishes. What God started in your life at salvation He will bring eventually to completion. Paul communicates this faith to the others. Paul is saying – God hasn’t given up on you and I haven’t either.
Expect the best of one another and believe that God will work in the lives of those who love Him!
BEFORE YOU GO…
Encourage your pastor! As you may know, October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Sometimes pastors are the very people who most need encouragement! Here are a few ideas for encouraging your leaders…
- Pray for your pastor every day. Ask him what you can pray about and then ask him how it’s going!
- Do something special for the pastor’s family.
- Mow your pastor’s lawn or shovel the driveway.
- Babysit your pastor’s kids so he and his wife can go out.
- Provide vacation time.
- Give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant, coffee spot, or hobby store.
- Write a sincere and specific note explaining how you see God working in and through Him in the life of the church, his family, or you!