The family of God is not a place for verbal putdowns, sarcastic jabs, critical comment, and harsh judgments. We get enough of that from the world. This is a place we need to assemble for the purpose of being encouraged.
In the classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, the main character, Christian, tumbles into the miry bog, the “slough of despond,” and struggles to get free. But the heavy burden on his back pulls him in deeper, and he begins to sink.
This image pictures what it feels like when we’re sinking in difficult circumstances—when our debts outweigh our income, when past hurts won’t heal, when discontentment marks our relationships, and when the light of heaven seems distant and dim. Discouragement, despondency, pain, suffering—these miry pits along life’s journey can pull us down into our own “slough of despond.”
Christian’s rescue came by the hand of a fellow traveller named Help...and the same is true for you today. Use these resources to find encouragement for your own life...or to minister help to those you find along life’s journey.
Good leaders will say, “Stay at it!” Ever notice how motivated and strengthened you feel when you have people who come alongside and let you know they want you to succeed? And the result? “Many people were brought to the Lord.”
Building up others means to edify, encourage, and uplift them so they will be strengthened inwardly to persevere despite difficulty. Encouragement seeks to infuse difficulty with meaning. Without that sense of meaning, hope and the will to go on fades.
Imagine this was your last winter. What would you do? Would you build a snowman just because you could? Would you enjoy a roaring fire and a good book? Would it make a difference if you knew this was your last winter? You bet it would.
There’s something that doesn’t mix—the praise of almighty God and the promotion of self. You cannot blend them, nor should you try. If we devote ourselves to worship, we must remove ourselves from the scene.
Want more joy in your day? Cultivate it! Joy springs from viewing the day’s events from eternity’s perspective. With this intentional focus, you’re sure to see today differently—with more joy and conviction that God is at work in your life.
The One who began will continue right up to the end. Being the original finisher, He will persist. I’m comforted to know He won’t be talked out of a plan that has to do with developing me. I need help! Don’t you?
Joy prompts healing—both physically and emotionally. In this poignant letter of friendship and faith, the Apostle Paul advocated for a lasting joy to undergird the life of all believers.
It’s impossible to measure the worth of mutual encouragement. Whether spoken or written, a few encouraging words can make an enormous difference in the outcome of a single event or, in fact, someone’s entire life.