“Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall.” 2 Samuel 19:7
Everyone needs recognition for their accomplishments, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as the little boy who said to his father: Let’s play darts. I’ll throw, and you say wonderful!
Will Rogers once said he could go two weeks on a good compliment.
Even when we are encouraged, Satan is scheming to suck the hope and courage out of us. We are not alone. The great heroes of the Bible were the victims of discouragement. God encouraged Joshua as he was ordained to fill Moses shoes: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
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Would you be discouraged if Jesus was physically with you every minute? Of course not. Than you have a faith problem, not a discouragement problem. The Lord says He will never leave us nor forsake us in Hebrews 13:5. He promises to provide for all our needs in Philippians 4:19. He tells us that nothing will ever separate us from His love in Romans 8:38-39. If we really believe it, we would not be discouraged.
Sometimes we forget. We need to be reminded of our identity and destiny in Christ. That’s why we need each other. That’s one reason why God is so gracious and does not allow us all to be discouraged at the same time. One day I maybe up and you’re down. I’ll pick you up and remind you that you don’t belong in the pit. The next day may be my turn in the hole. Satan wants to separate us from the God’s grace and power. We need one another to guard against these assaults and stand our ground in the victory Jesus gave to us.
Nevertheless, there are times when no one is around to encourage us. David faced one of those times when the enemy came into his camp and plundered his mighty men of valor and ran off with all their wives, children and property. Even David’s most loyal friends were about to stone him. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 NKJV
The devil and the world dish out enough discouragement. Let us lift up the downtrodden, pick up the fallen, help the hopeless. Compliment that hassled waitress who is having a bad day. Greet the world with a smile. Write a note of thanks to someone who has left positive footprints on your life. Make a phone call just to say I love you. You will never be more like Jesus than when you’re encouraging someone.
Encouragement is like making a jelly sandwich. You can’t spread it around without getting a little on you. Now you spread, and I’ll say, Wonderful!
Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey at Lake Wylie, which now meets at Pine Grove Baptist Church. Visit thejourneyatlakewylie.com for more information.