You've arrived about halfway through this month's series.
Click here to read the introduction.
From the Hebrews passage (10:19-25), I determined encouraging one another requires two things: meeting together and intentionality in those meetings. The author starts verse twenty-four by saying, And let us consider. To encourage one another, we have to consider others. Considering others will transform our interactions with them and allow us to spur them on toward love and good deeds, encouraging them!
So today, I'm going to begin to give you a framework for growing into an encourager. We'll spend three days on this and each day I'll give you and 'A' word, to help you remember! I am not an expert on this topic, but I love encouraging others and learned a lot from reading Encouragement: The Key to Caring by Dr. Larry Crabb and Dr. Dan Allender. Most of what I've been sharing with you comes directly from a talk I gave during the A Mom's Heart in Illinois conference on November 7th.
Crabb and Allender say, Encouragement is the fruit of a self-examined heart and a compassionate discerning sensitivity to the needs of others.
Read that again. What they're saying is that becoming one who encourages is a combination of attitude and skills. In fact Attitude is the first of the three 'A' words. To become an encourager, we need to develop an attitude of ministry.
Here are two means by which we can cultivate an Attitude of Ministry:
- To become and encourager, one must walk with Jesus. Daily spending time in prayer and reading God's Word keeps us in our place. We are reminded how much we need the Lord and how much He has done for us, particularly in giving us what we did not deserve: mercy. Like Crabb and Allender suggest, encouragement is the fruit of a self-examined heart. We cannot have such without regularly relating with our Savior and Lord. In addition to self-examination, studying Christ also gives us a model for ministry!
- To become an encourager, one must intentionally consider others. It takes practice! Developing an attitude of ministry will not happen for any of us overnight or by magic. We begin by cultivating a posture that considers others: thinking ahead about upcoming interactions, praying about how we can meet others' needs and/or spur them on, making choices to engage when the Spirit nudges rather than sticking to small talk.
Fortunately as the Lord works in our hearts in our relationship with Him, we will begin to consider others as an outpouring of His work in our lives. A self-examined heart leads to a greater compassion for others, which will lead to encouragement. Throw in a handful of practical skills and you'll be spewing encouragement all over the place, to the praise of His glory.
See you tomorrow for 'A' word number two of the trio!