You don’t have to look far to see or hear the stories of the damage being done by hurricanes and fires–things that are out of our control. At the same time, we as humans also make poor decisions that cause racial divides, destroy marriages and friendships, or put a strain on our family ties. Life can be tough and we are all messed up.
Are you feeling worn out and drained by the constant flurry of activities? Maybe you are struggling through something hard, the loss of someone close, a failing marriage, illness or disease, exhaustion from caring for little ones, or battling anger and hurt in a relationship.
We all need truth and encouragement spoken into our lives, so I want to present a challenge to you. Can you be the one that speaks encouragement into someone’s life today? Will you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider who that someone is? Maybe you are the type of person who naturally encourages all those around you…thank you. We all need more people like this in our lives.
I know I have been longing for encouragement and when it is not there I’m left feeling defeated. One night I was feeling so low that I was having my own pity party. I was longing for days of the past and fearful for the future. I’m sure many of you have been there. If you haven’t I want to warn you it is a dangerous place to be because it leads to discontentment. We need to be content in this here and now, not matter the struggles we face. God helped to lead me out of my pity party of discontentment lead me out of my dark place and reminded me this here and now was grooming me for what is to come. He reminded of who I am in Christ.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
I was created in Christ Jesus and while my salvation is complete and does not depend on my good works, I was created to do good works for God’s eternal purposes. My circumstances may not change and the struggles may still be weighty, but God offers so much encouragement for us in this here and now of our lives. The scriptures are filled with people that struggled and Paul reminds in his letters to Timothy that we will suffer for the sake of Christ, but it is our great privilege and calling to do so.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began…” 2 Timothy 1:8-9
Lately I have found myself saying, “Ministry is so hard!” more often than I care to admit. Our family has been in a state of transition for the past year and half and it hasn’t been easy. In fact it has felt like work. Thankfully, when I remind myself it is just a season (some seasons may last longer than others) and that this here and now is not permanent I can strive a little bit more.
If you are feeling exhausted too, I understand. My husband may have a title of worship pastor, but that is not what puts me in ministry. All Christ-followers are to live a life of ministry. We are called to minister (live out the gospel) in our homes, at work, when we are driving on the road or talking to a cashier at the store. We live this way because we are saved by God’s grace and called into a new life. Nothing we can do will change the fact that Jesus died for us and his blood covers every single last sin. No sin is too big for God. We need to live in light of this because we were created and called for good works, according to his purpose, so let us be encouraged by this truth.
1 Thessalonians, Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, is full of encouragement. This church was full of people who lived in light of the gospel and genuinely loved one another. Sounds amazing, right?! I fully believe we can achieve this too. Paul encourages them to be steadfast in their faith through gospel application, prayer and thanksgiving. He encourages them to keep going because he knew the task would not always be easy and it takes effort, so we are to remind each other in the same way.
Let’s encourage one another today and work in building each other up! Think of one person you can encourage and extend a kind word through a handwritten note, a text, or face to face over a warm beverage. When you feel low and exhausted, try encouraging someone else anyway. You will make someone else’s heart feel a little lighter and I bet it has the same effect on you as well.
Let me know how this encouragement challenge goes for you. Feel free to share a story of how you encouraged someone or how someone encouraged you. I’m always looking for stories to share! Email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org