Monday, April 23, 2012

Refresh My Heart - Part 4

Refresh My Heart - Encourage Me

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that
none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Hebrews 3:13


According to Mr. Webster, we encourage one another when we give each other:
  • courage 
  • hope
  • confidence
  • support
Could you use some of that on a Monday morning? 

Some of you are in the kinds of circumstances that will require a double dose of all of those things just to get out of bed. For some of us it's just business as usual at the beginning of the week. Kids, lunches, laundry, bills, work, writing, and to-do lists. We're exhausted before the week even starts. 

Think of a time when someone paid you a compliment, sent you a thank you note, or just called to say how much they appreciate something you've said or done. Remember the feeling you got when that happened? Remember how it energized you just a little bit? It doesn't take much, really. Just a moment or two.

As I thought about the end part of today's verse it struck me how important we are to each other in daily spiritual warfare. Look at the verse again and read it out loud this time. 

Encourage one another to keep us from being hardened by sin's deceitfulness. What kind of deceitfulness? Well a few things come to mind right off the bat. See what you think about this list:
  • the lie that we are not good enough
  • the lie that we are too bad to be forgiven
  • the lie that God could never use us and would never choose us
  • the lie that we are worthless
  • the lie that we must be exactly like someone else to be useful to God
  • the lie that God does not care about the details of our lives
  • the lie that we can do things apart from God
  • the lie that we can handle a little bit of sin
  • the lie that we are better than others (although we would never actually say that!)
  • the lie that our sin is not really all that bad and God doesn't really mind it
  • the lie that___________________________ . Write in the lie you tell yourself right here. 
This could be a very long list. Suffice it to say, we all fall prey to one or more of these lies more often than we'd like. Sometimes it happens simply because we are tired and discouraged. We really need that courage and hope and confidence and support. 

Just as we are not to sin against God by failing to pray for one another (remember Friday's post?), we should not fail to stand together in spiritual battle by encouraging one another. It's such a simple thing really, with such a huge impact. 

Here are some ways to encourage someone:
  • make a point to notice something they've done well and brag on them
  • write a short note to tell them one thing you appreciate about them
  • brag on them to someone else
  • pray for them
  • take a moment to ask how they're doing
  • Listen to them
  • find a scripture that reminds you of them. Write it on a pretty note card and put it on their desk. 
  • offer to help them with something: picking up dry cleaning, going to the post office, filing, watching their kids
  • call them just to say hello and let them know you are thinking about them and praying for them
  • take them to lunch - just because
  • act like a secret pal and leave them little fun things every once in a while just to lift their spirits
Those are just a few things. The possibilities are endless and as creative as you are. 

Probably the biggest benefit of encouraging one another is the assurance that we are not alone. We can and should be the earthly reminders of the presence of God. How much are we encouraged when someone reminds us that God has a plan a purpose for everything that happens? It doesn't take away sadness or fear or concern, but it does keep us from losing hope. 

There is hope is Jesus. He is our hope. When we are tired and discouraged, and wishing more than anything else that we could quit, we need each other to carry our burdens, lift us up, walk with us, and remind us that we are precious to God. 

Let's make it a point today as we go about our usual Monday chores to actively seek out opportunities to encourage one another. We are all in a spiritual battle every day. We each must put on the armor of God and fight the battles he brings to us, but we need to know that we are not alone. 

Let us not leave one another without hope. Ask God to lead you today to someone who needs encouragement. He already has someone waiting for you.  Don't miss your chance!

I have prayed for you today. 


No comments: