It’s week number five in the A Believer’s Character series. Joyice Harris of Raising Boys Homeschool is my blogging partner in this 26 week journey. Together, we’re exploring an alphabetical listing of important Biblical character traits for children.
This week’s letter is E. Today, I’m talking about the importance of helping my girlies become encouragers and Joyice is sharing E is for equipped. After you finish reading this post, please visit Joyice. You’ll be blessed by what you read.
What is an encourager?
The word encourage means to stimulate someone or something by assistance, approval, or help. Thus, an encourager is one who heartens, reassures, urges, aids, helps, or supports another person.
What does the Bible say about the word encourage?
In the years following Christ’s crucifixion, believers found themselves in the midst of great turmoil. They were being persecuted for preaching the Gospel. A hateful and merciless man named Saul hunted down Christians, happily tossing them into jail or gladly executing them.
But one day Saul’s life changed. Acts 9:1-18 describes Saul’s life changing encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. From that moment on, Saul (also known as Paul), became a believer and later rose to become one of the greatest church leaders of all time. However, because they had seen and heard of Paul’s cruelty, many followers of Jesus were fearful of him, doubted his conversion, and would not welcome him. All except for one man…
We first meet Barnabas in Acts 4:36, where we find him selling his field and giving the money to the disciples in order to help the needy, thus advancing the cause of the gospel. We also learn the meaning of his name. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement”. This passage of scripture shows us that Barnabas was a compassionate and encouraging man, exactly the man the Lord wanted to bring Paul into a relationship with the other believers. This passage of scripture tells us exactly how Barnabas did so:
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:29)
Barnabas encouraged the believers to welcome Paul and they did. His encouraging words helped set the stage for a new chapter in Christianity.
Teaching my daughters to encourage others
I want my daughters to be able to encourage others. I want them to be known as women who embolden and support other people. To help them meet this goal, I teach my daughters to do three things:
- Listen for the voice of the Lord. If the girls aren’t listening, they will not know who God wants them to encourage. Many people need encouragement, but God has specific people for them to encourage.
- Obey the voice of the Lord. Once the girls know who to encourage, they must go ahead and do so. I want them to obey quickly so encouragement is offered quickly.
- Ask God to give them the right words. In order to be Godly encouragers, the girlies must say what God wants them to say and refrain from speaking impulsively or carelessly. Doing so could mar the message God wants them to share.
Teaching my daughters to encourage themselves
I want my daughters to be able to encourage others and I hope they’ll receive encouragement too. However, there are times when like David (I Samuel 30:6), they’ll have to encourage themselves by finding strength in the Lord. How can they encourage themselves?
- By remembering that God loves them,
- By remembering that He is in control,
- By choosing to focus on God instead of focusing on the troubling issue,
- by reading scripture, and
- by singing songs of praise.
Prayer for Encouragement
Dear Lord, as I move through this life, there are days that I want to give up and moments when I want to melt down. Stress overwhelms me, fears overtake me, and I wonder if I’ll be able to press ahead. I ask that You give me the strength I need keep moving forward and help me to find joy once more. Once you lift me out of my despair, please allow me to encourage others. Be with me, guide me, and give me the words and actions I need lift them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.