Do you ever feel like you could use a word of encouragement? The Greek word for encourage is parakaleó which means “to come alongside with strength or encouragement.” Other meanings include: “beseech, entreat, beg, exhort, admonish, comfort, console, instruct, and teach.”
God knew we would experience feelings of discouragement and would need people to encourage us along our journey in life. As a follower of Christ, did you know it is your duty to encourage others? It can be found 109 times in the New Testament so it is obviously very important to God for us to obey this command!
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encouraging others is not simply offering a complimentary word of false hope. Real encouragement requires one of your most precious gifts…your time. Why? Because it requires you to invest enough time with the person who is discouraged to be able to understand exactly what they are going through. Only then can you offer sincere hope with a genuine word of encouragement.
Helper, Comforter, Energizer
As a high-energy girl, I love the Greek word parakletos. It is a noun (related to parakaleó) which means “helper, comforter, energizer.”
You are not meant to do life all alone. There are times when you will need a helper, a comforter, and definitely an energizer to help light a fire under you and rebuild your confidence when you are feeling discouraged. I enjoy getting to be that energizer for people, but I know there are times when I need it from others as well.
God desires for you to be that helper, comforter, and energizer for others when they need you, coming alongside of them with strength and encouragement.
In this world filled with despair and disappointments, we can all benefit from words of encouragement. God will always give you plenty of opportunities to be an encourager to others. All you have to do is be aware when you are connecting with people whether it is with the checker at the grocery store, your bank teller, your co-workers, or those with whom God has given you to build a deep relationship. When He provides those opportunities, take advantage of them and be sure you don’t pass them up!
God’s Provision for Encouragement
Perhaps you have no one in your life who will come beside you to give you strength and encouragement when you need it most. God knows this and because He loves you deeply, He has provided for you in advance by giving you the Holy Spirit who will always be with you.
Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would be the Parakletos—the Encourager, Helper, and Comforter—who would take His place after He ascended into heaven.
“If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you.” John 14:15-16
God has also gifted you with His Word, the Bible, to encourage you and give you hope. If you simply take the time to read it, you will receive a powerful boost for your spirit!
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4
Be an Encourager
An effective encourager is someone who has optimism, enthusiasm for life, and can relate to others in a positive way. They also radiate a quiet self-confidence, enabling them to be able to focus on others rather than demanding constant attention to fulfill their own emotional needs.
Whenever two people connect with each other, they will part either more encouraged or more discouraged. You have a choice with the kind of impact you will have on everyone you meet.
The gift of encouragement is one that every one of us has been given because it is God’s desire for us to encourage others. But how often do we actually use that gift to build others up?
Here are several ways you can easily encourage others…
Sometimes, all it takes is just a simple smile. Two studies from 2002 and 2011 at Uppsala University in Sweden confirmed that when other people smile, it actually suppresses the control we normally have over our facial muscles, compelling us to smile. The studies also showed it is extremely difficult to frown when looking at someone who is smiling.
Researchers with Hewlett-Packard Development Company in the UK used an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart rate monitor to establish “mood-boosting values” for brain stimuli. They discovered that smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in very powerful ways and found that seeing one smile can be as pleasurable and stimulating as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate! Now, that’s pretty sweet!
Know that you are providing a big boost to another person’s spirit and also to your own when you smile.
Send an Email or Text
Let someone know you are praying for them with an email or text which only takes a few minutes. When you tell a person they are on your heart and that you have been prompted to pray for them, that is such a huge encouragement. The Holy Spirit is working on their behalf!
Whenever I receive texts or emails that boost my spirit, I like to print them off and set them in front of my computer at my desk so I am continually encouraged when I see them.
Mail a Card
Send a handwritten card in the mail with words of encouragement. I love receiving cards that warm my heart and lift my spirit. It is a rare practice in today’s world of fast technology to send a card by snail mail, but what joy it brings to the heart to receive one!
At the beginning of this year, I decided to practice being an encourager by sending out a handwritten card to a different person every week with words that built them up in whatever way they needed it at that time in their life. Not surprisingly, God has brought more than one person per week to my mind who has needed encouragement.
It truly is a blessing for me because it provides a huge boost to my spirit knowing I can play a part, whether big or small, in encouraging others.
Meet in Person
I find when I meet with someone in person over a cup of coffee, I am able to spend more time being engaged in conversation and listening.
That is when I can offer life-giving words to encourage because I have a deeper understanding of what is really going on in their life. And I am often encouraged by their words as well. God desires for us to spend quality time with each other for that very reason – to be able to encourage one another!
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25
Sweetness to the Soul
When God gives you a word to speak to someone who needs encouragement, be sure to listen to Him and share what He has given you to say. Be gracious with your words and don’t hold back!
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
I recently purchased this sparkly little enamel bee pin which I repurposed into a ring:
It is such a great reminder for me when I wear it to be an encourager. If God gives me words that He wants me to share with someone, they can be like a honeycomb, providing sweetness to their soul!
A Different Kind of Encouragement
Parakaleó can also be a time of instructing, teaching, and even admonishing. Perhaps the person you are encouraging has journeyed off the path that they should be on to keep their relationship strong with the Lord.
You have the opportunity to say, with love, grace, and wisdom, what this person needs to hear – to encourage them to take action so they can get back on track with God. This is best done when you have one-on-one time with them…another reason to make time for that cup of coffee with the person needing encouragement.
The Apostle Paul set a great example for us by encouraging believers, telling them what they need to hear so they would change their behavior to live as God wanted them to live. In this verse, parakaleó is translated as “beg.”
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Ephesians 4:1
You may never know the impact you have on the life of someone you have encouraged but God knows and will reward you in eternity for being a faithful encourager to others.
Live Life to the Fullest
Discouragement is burdensome and can make the difficulties we go through in life feel incredibly overwhelming. Encouragement gives us the hope we need to get through those inevitable tough times. It is God’s desire for us to live life abundantly and to the absolute fullest!
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b
When we are energized for Christ, we can be an effective encourager, providing sweetness to the souls of those He has intended for us to meet on our journey in life. And we can be confident in the promise that no matter what we go through, we have the greatest Encourager of all who will always be right by our side.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
Ask God to bring the people in your life to mind who could use a word of encouragement.
Sparkler #2: Action
Send those people God brings to mind an encouraging text, email, or handwritten card, or ask if they would like to meet you one-on-one for encouraging conversation.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Find ways each day to be an encouragement to others. When you are in need of encouragement, take time to read God’s Word, filled with sweetness to the soul.
*Cup of coffee – photo credit: Toshihiro Oimatsu
Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at kingdomsparkle.com.
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