“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)

“Great job!” “You certainly work well with others.” “That was a great way to handle that problem.” “Great idea!” “Thanks for all you do for us.” “Way to go!” “Keep up the good work.”

Those are words of encouragement. If you’re like most people, you don’t hear them often. People rarely say things that encourage others. That’s too bad since we need encouragement to give us strength for the demands of life.

God understands our needs. That’s why He gives us encouragement through His Word.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Romans 15:4

God gives us eternal encouragement through His Grace.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,  comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NKJV)

If we listen to God, we’ll hear His constant encouragement. He’s always saying nice things about us. He’s always telling us how much He loves us. He’s always reminding us of the great things He has in store for us. If we’ll just listen to Him.

You and I need encouragement. So do others. It’s what “charges us up” to keep going, to feel good about ourselves and others. Paul reminds us that “encouragement” is a main part of our ministry to others. It is a primary ministry of Pastors and Elders (2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9, 2:6, 2:15). God has even given some Christians the “gift” of encouraging others (Romans 12:6-8). Whether you have that gift or not, it is the responsibility of all Christians to encourage one another. Here are a few examples.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

“And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Romans 1:11-12

Yes, we all need encouragement. Paul needed it. I need it. You need it. God gives us encouragement to make us strong. He wants us to share that encouragement with others to help make them strong. I’ll close these thoughts with one of the clearest portions of God’s Word about the relationship He wants us to have with others. It reminds us of what we have “in” Christ. May it encourage you today and all the days of your life.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 2:1-5

(continue this study tomorrow with unity!)

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries