If there is one thing I have learned about the Christian walk, it is this: I can’t travel this road alone. A bible verse that echoes in my mind which reveals this truth is a familiar one to many of us: “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Still, another verse that speaks to our need for mutual companionship is Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The simple truth is, we need each other, a thought that flies in the face of our influential, independent culture. Having our bibles filled with those “one another” verses helps us realize how much of a gift we can be to each other. We are intended to be a gift to one another, and if you’re wondering how that might happen, here is a simple and powerful way…encouragement.
There is an old Japanese proverb that says, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” Sounds good, right? Yet, I know after a while, the “getting up” part becomes harder because I am distracted by my failures. It is here where the voice of another can make all the difference in the world. As one person writes, “A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” God urges us to “encourage one another daily” (NIV, 1984) in Hebrews 3:12. Why is encouragement so important? Let’s go back to Hebrews 3:12.: We learn from this verse that each day can bring about the possible “hardening through the deceitfulness of sin.” So, we can help one another from getting a hard heart towards God. That, in itself, is a beautiful gift.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what
is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Why is encouragement so important? Simple, words are powerful! God wants them to be used for “edification,” or as the NCV says, “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” I saw something anew when reading this verse; that is, one must be involved with another on some level if they are going to understand their need and thus be a source (i.e., gift) of strength and encouragement for them. This gift of encouragement can help someone through life and its adversities. There is another good reason to give this gift.
I think you would agree, there can never be too much encouragement. If I were to be honest, it is one of the things I often crave from others, because this life can, at times, seem overwhelming. Maybe this is why God yearns for us to grow in the grace of encouragement. 1st Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Why seek to encourage? Because it is a gift, we can all give and the only cost is a little time, along with a loving heart that seeks to help another in their journey heavenward. So, who is going to receive your gift this day!