I have a Golden Retriever named Hubble. ( I got the name from Robert Redford’s character in The Way We Were, not from the telescope.) Regardless of my mood or attitude Hubble always greets me with overwhelming joy. He is always excited to see me. All I do for Hubble is care for him and give him a little love and attention (encouragement) and he consistently responds to me like I’m the king of the world. (It’s one reason I’m a dog lover.)
In many ways we humans respond a lot like my dog Hubble. We need cared for both physically and emotionally. We are hungry for encouragement and a little encouragement goes a long way toward building successful and fulfilling relationships – which are absolutely necessary on your Life Palette for you to live as the masterpiece God created you to be. Just look around you and you will see that the people you cross paths with today are desperate for encouragement.
Anyone Can Be A Discouragement
It doesn’t take skill to discourage someone. In fact the truth is, you encourage or discourage everyone around you. If you are not intentionally encouraging you are more than likely naturally being discouraging. The Proverbs writer said it this way: “The tongue can bring death or life…” (Prov 18:21 NLT) To give life is to encourage and to encourage is to inspire confidence in others living and fulfilling their God-given potential. Discouragement is easy and does not warrant our defining it. We all know what it looks and feels like. So let’s look at how to encourage others.
1. Encourage With Your Words
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Eph 4:29 (NLT) Notice that Paul says “everything you say”. Encouragement begins with the words of “life” in everything you say.
2. Encourage With Your Actions
Jesus’ brother James wrote these words in James 2:17: “…faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” It is not enough to simply speak words of encouragement, our actions must line up with our words. This is a values issue, something I wrote extensively about in my book Life Palette, both what values are and how to develop them on your Life Palette so that you can live out your potential as the masterpiece God created you to be. We must communicate our encouragement with our actions.
3. Encourage With Your Presence
Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica when going through troubles: “We sent him (Timothy) to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through…” (1 Thess 3:2-3 NLT) He didn’t simply write them a letter, or an email or send a text, he sent Timothy to be there with them. He understood that they needed more than just words. During times of troubles, especially the kind that can shake your faith, words are not enough, the most powerful thing you can do to encourage someone during a time of trouble is to be present . In fact often words are not needed; your presence will bring them deep comfort.
All of us require outside encouragement at one level or another, it is imperative for our personal growth. We not only need it from others so that we can grow, but we will experience the most personal growth as we give encouragement. Let encouragement get on your growth radar. When you see an opportunity to encourage another person today, realize it is an opportunity for you to grow and live as the masterpiece God created you to be. It may feel inconvenient at the moment, but the dividends are yours.
“So encourage each other and build each other up…” 1 Thess 5:11 (NLT)