April 14, 2014
Words of Encouragement
Anatole France once said, "Nine tenths of education is encouragement." The same can be said for preaching, with a slightly different percentage. According to Paul, 33% of preaching is encouragement. He said, "But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort." (1 Corinthians 14:3)
I believe this principle applies to our conversations, as well. Perhaps we should check the content of our conversations to see how much time we spend encouraging others, as opposed to how much time we spend pointing out their sins, or complaining about how bad things are, or warning about how bad things will get, and so on. People need encouragement.
So, what is encouragement? According to various online dictionaries, it can be defined as:
+ contributing to the progress or growth of someone or something;
+ the expression of approval or support;
+ to motivate, incitement to action or practice;
+ to give hope or courage to someone.
You might say that encouragement is telling someone what they most need to hear in order to take the next right step.
The conversations that I find most encouraging are the ones that remind me that God's mercy is always more powerful than my sin, and there is no situation beyond his ability to restore, and that restoration can begin today if I start taking action today.
The conversations that I find most encouraging are the ones that remind me that holiness isn't an unattainable goal, that becoming like Christ isn't beyond my grasp, that it's the birthright of every believer -- including me -- if I will only start taking steps in that direction.
All of our conversations should have an element of, "You can do it. Here's how." Whether we're behind the pulpit or just talking to a friend one on one, we're called to be voices of encouragement.
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