This post is part of my series for Write 31 Days (writing on a prompt every day during the month of October). I may not be posting on the blog every day, but you can find an index page where all the posts in the series will be added here. The prompt today is “encourage.”
We all need encouragement. Words are powerful, and even a simple word of encouragement can make a big difference.
But how do we encourage one another?
The world would tell us it’s all about building up our self-confidence:
- You can do it.
- You’ve got what it takes.
- You’re brave.
- You’re strong.
- You’re amazing.
Or, as a children’s song that is popular in schools here puts it: “You are a star just the way you are!”
I think there is a time for that kind of encouragement. Sometimes we do have what it takes and we just need others to believe in us and help us believe in ourselves. We do need to know that God has made us just the way we are and that he is pleased with what he has made.
But I think there are also times when we can only be encouraged by looking beyond ourselves, because we all know there are times when we can’t do it, and we don’t have what it takes – times when we’re all too conscious of the reality of our flaws and weaknesses, and the pressure to overcome them in our own strength can seem overwhelming.
We need the encouragement that comes not from looking to ourselves but from turning to God.
- Not, “I can do it,” but, “He is with me.”
- Not, “I am strong,” but, “His “power is made perfect in weakness.”” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)
- Not, “I have what it takes,” but, “He “is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
We need the encouragement that comes from looking at the Bible and realising that the kind of people God uses are not super-strong heroes, but ordinary, imperfect people – people just like us.
We need the encouragement of knowing that God can work through us, and that he has created a unique part for each of us to play.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)