When I first heard the word encouragement, I thought, sure, I can write about that; “Easy peasy” as our 4-year old grandson says. I mean, who doesn’t love to be encouraged and to be an encourager? But, as I sit here listening to God speak to my heart about that word, I hear something a little different than I thought I would.
In what areas do we really need encouragement? I know I need no encouragement to sin. Sin is the old pair of shoes that I trip over each day; I thought I had thrown them away, but here they are waiting for me. So I kick them aside and try to run the race, moving on with my life. Will they be there tomorrow? Much as I hope not, they will be. Sin is a problem for me.
Before you think I’m nuts let’s review what sin is – it’s missing the mark with God. We all do it, you know? We worry and we’re good at it. Anxiety, fear, fretting, control…sure they aren’t listed as the sins on the signboard of God’s Word but they are sins just the same. We miss the mark when we pick those things up and let them have control over our lives. We’re made for encouragement – inspiration, praise, blessings! Thankfully every morning, those old shoes turn up, God turns up too. And He holds out His hand and lovingly says “Come away with Me today. I have a gift for you – New Mercy – this morning.” Blessed as I am, what’s the most blessed about my life is that while sin tries to show up daily, so does Christ…and He trumps sin every single time.
What I need for encouragement is probably what you need too.
Encouragement to go on with life: I have to unfetter myself from the chains of “if only”, “what if” and “should have”. Christ encourages me to make a break from the past and let it go. I find it’s the only way to live today and when those old thoughts of old mistakes want to enter into the living room of my heart, I must apply God’s Word to sweep the junk out and live with the new.
Encouragement to face my fears: Most fears are never realized, I’m living proof of that. Just 15 years ago my husband suddenly lost his job and I was sure we’d lose everything. We didn’t. In fact, we gained some things we didn’t know we had. Victory. Fortitude. Faith. Trust. Hope. Joy. We gained, even in our loss, things money cannot buy. Peace came in fabulous waves and fear had to be kicked to the curb.
Encouragement to live loved: Sounds strange, doesn’t it? After all, we “Christians” are taught John 3: 16 from the get go. “For God so loved the world.” But hey, the world is big and I’m just a tiny chip from the edge of it all and He loves ME? He does! He loves you too! He chose you, He appointed you, He ransomed you, and He keeps you – because He loves you. Realizing how much we are loved will change everything. Loved people are able to love others no holds barred. And if you get whacked by unexpected rejection, it’s okay, because God loves you and He loves you no matter what. He is the best friend who will truly stay with you.
Most of all I need encouragement to let me be me. I don’t have to try to fit the mold that someone else fashioned. I don’t have to fix the house or fix myself; God likes who I am in Christ. He is okay with my warts because He’s smoothing all things out for me. He’s okay with all our deficiencies because He is our sufficiency. The All Sufficient One has come in and taken resident in our hearts so you and I, precious one, are good to go – anywhere and everywhere He leads us.
Oh beloved, I encourage you today to let God be your Encouragement. Let Him sweep you off your feet of imperfection and into His arms open wide, just for you, all for you. I pray you will be encouraged to grasp all that God is for you and all that He has for you. This relationship with the Savior is so encouraging – He loves us, He speaks to us, He listens to us, He cares for us, He defends us, He plans good things for us and one of these days, He’s going to take us home with Him.
You are His and He is yours. Encourage yourself and other hearts along the way with these words from I Thessalonians 5: 9 “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”