Being An Encourager
(Series on encouraging – Part 3)
Therefore I encourage you to stir up the gift of God which is in you. . .
2 Timothy 1:6.
Paul – Pillar of Strength
Although he was the leading persecutor of Christians during the time of the early church, Paul became a strong believer in the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus after a brief encounter with God that left him temporarily blind for three days (Acts 9). Paul eventually went on to become the most influential voice – after Jesus Himself, in the history of the church. Paul’s transformation convinced him that the crucified Galilean was indeed the Messiah and the Son of God, and whose message was not just for the Jews but the Gentiles also. Paul became known as “The Pillar of Strength” and went on to write 13 books in the New Testament (14 if you include the book of Hebrews). Paul had definitely mastered the art of strengthening and encouraging the brethren and making believers out of unbelievers. The book of Acts is filled with examples of Paul strengthening and encouraging his fellow Christians.
However, one of my favourite examples is in Acts 14, where Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel in Lystra, Derbe, Lycaonia, and the surrounding region. While in Lystra, Paul healed a man in front of the multitudes who had been crippled since birth. Because of this and the powerful Gospel message that was preached by Paul and Barnabas, they could hardly restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them, so the Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there and persuaded the multitudes to stone Paul and drag him out of the city, believing him to be dead. However, after the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and continued on to Derbe to continue his mission for God. Wow! What really impresses me is that he then “walked” 96 kilometres (60 miles - 20 miles a day for 3 days) just to return to Lystra, the very city where he was stoned and left for dead, to strengthen the disciples there – encouraging them to continue in their faith, saying “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
It can be a blessing to other people's lives, your life and, ultimately, the kingdom of God, to encourage other Christians. Encouraging others in the Lord should be a major part of any Christian's life, and that's certainly true if you have some type of leadership role in the church.
Acts 14: 21-28.
Great God of Grace, Help me to rise above my circumstances and place my confidence in Your goodness and compassion. Remind me that I can do all things through You, for You are my strength, my song and Your Word my encouragement. In Jesus, I pray: Amen.