“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Over the years of my Christian walk I have grown to have a passion for serving. At the core of my being God created me for deep relationships and helping others. I’ve always struggled with my own self-confidence and self-worth, so relationships don’t come easy for me. However, I don’t want to see others hurt or struggle like I have, so I want to help. When it comes to myself, I’m afraid to open up, afraid of misunderstandings, and if I’m being really honest, I’m afraid of conflict.
I became a “Yes” girl, a people pleaser. I set aside my own needs in relationships in order to help and encourage those around me. I grew into the role of encourager, and I truly love helping others and lifting them up, but inside I can often be hurting, hiding my own struggles until it explodes out of me. It’s not always on purpose I do this. I easily make myself busy, and I often forget to truly take care of myself.
Thanks to the discipleship and mentorship of leaders in my life, I am learning how to balance. Sometimes it feels like I’m a slow learner, as it seems like I go through this process a lot. But the great thing about this journey called life is we are all on a journey and we have grace. Encouragers need encouragement, too, and that means being open and vulnerable. For someone who constantly serves to lift up another, it’s hard.
The gift of encouragement, or exhortation, is a call to remind others of the powerful and amazing work of God. Sometimes an encourager needs to hear a reminder of His faithfulness themselves. This is where the Great Commission comes in to real life for the Body of Christ.
“All authority in Heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18b-20
Discipleship starts within the church. The raising up and sending out doesn’t stop at spiritual maturity. No matter our age, or level of wisdom, or even our intimacy with Jesus Christ, we all need a mentor who speaks truth into our lives, guides us on our journey, and holds us accountable. This accountability is an encouragement to keep us aligned with the will of God. It is the church building the church so we can go out into all the corners of the world and make more disciples for the Kingdom of God. It is an ever growing process of disciples making disciples.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in his generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:6-8
If there’s someone in your life who encourages you, take a moment today to ask God how you can encourage them in return. They won’t say it out loud, but they probably need a lift more than they let on. Encouragement is a two-way street, and the person doing the encouraging is often just as blessed as the person they are encouraging. Let us all be encouragers and lift each other up as we build disciples and fulfill the Great Commission as Jesus commanded.
Enjoy the View,