Spur one another on toward love and good deeds . . . encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The word for “encouraging” here means literally “to stand alongside.” It has to do with assuring someone that you care, strengthening them by just being there. It’s also similar to a word used to describe the Holy Spirit—parakletos, which means “counselor, advocate.”
Who needs to be encouraged today? We all do! Anyone who says they never need encouragement is probably a hurting person. There’s nothing wrong with needing encouragement. Jesus did. His Father encouraged him, saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). An angel encouraged him as he struggled alone one night, knowing he would soon be arrested and crucified (Luke 22:43).
Our neighbors need encouragement. One may be a student leaving home for college. Another may be a tired, frazzled mother facing the stress of child care and a strained marriage. Another may be a widower facing long, lonely days. Or perhaps there’s someone you have not seen at worship in a while. People who need encouragement are not far away.
Our children’s teachers, our worship leaders, pastors, elders—all of these folks need encouragement. Being a daily encourager can be an addictive but healthy habit. Loving by encouraging can bring energy and joy. Will you do it?
Gracious Father, thank you for sending Jesus, who knows all our struggles and challenges! Help us to encourage others in his name. Amen.
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