S36P2 – Saintly encouragement: God-given
2 Cor. 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Recently, I was taught a pretty valuable lesson by a two-year-old kid. I was having dinner with friends of mine, and it was time to get ready to eat. Being the good uncle that I am, I volunteered to strap the little pumpkin into her high chair. As I fastened the last buckle, it pinched me well enough to draw blood. I winced and immediately pulled back my finger. Well, that little pumpkin noticed my reaction. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and asked if I pinched my finger. When I showed her the grave injury, I saw the compassion that came over her face. It is the same thing that everyone who has cared for her exhibits when she feels pain. It is this compassion that prompted her to ask me if I needed a kiss for my boo-boo. This little child who does not understand the words “empathy” and “compassion” still understood when they were needed and willingly showed them to me. This is how we are to encourage one another.
The same way mommy offers to kiss every boo-boo that the little pumpkin gets, our Father in heaven encourages us whenever our spirits are low. Whether they are the words written by men inspired by God, or the words of God himself spoken while He walked on this earth, or the audible words of God spoken before that time, God’s scriptures continue to encourage us even now. He also speaks to us today in the spirit and audibly. He directs us on the way to go by developing our discernment. He gives us words of knowledge and prophetic insight that we can use to encourage one another. The encouragement of God even comes from the physical world around us. Witness the birth of a new child and try not to be encouraged by God’s love. For those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, his encouragement is also within us in the form of his Son and his Spirit. As God lifts us up in so many ways to remind us of who we are in him, He desires that we remind each other of this same thing.
When God gives us grace, He expects that we show grace to others. When God gives us love, He expects that we show love to others. And when God gives us encouragement, He expects that we show encouragement to others. This encouragement, however, does not look like the world’s version. This is a specific type of encouragement that raises up a person the way God does. When we encourage each other in this way it is his Spirit working through us doing the encouraging. We are only vessels. Imagine God’s Holy Spirit using us to comfort others the way He comforts us. That is all God wants us to do. We are to be Jesus not only to the world but to each other as well. How wonderful that He would allow me to raise up a brother or sister the way He has raised me up! Father, thank You for your encouragement and give us the desire to allow You to encourage others through us.