WE ALL NEED A DAILY DOSE OF ENCOURAGEMENT
BY BARB CHRISTIANSEN
Encourage: To impart courage to one another; to cheer, refresh, enliven, restore, revitalize, gladden, console, ease, relieve, reassure, favor, strengthen, back up, lead or egg on, root for, pat on the back (From Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus, 2nd ed.)
Those words are a tall order for how we are to encourage one another. The Bible puts it this way:
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV).
Before I share my personal story and my journey with discovering my need for my daily dose of courage (being the fear-prone person that I was and sometimes am), as a teacher of the Word of God, I want to first lay the groundwork. I discovered that if I neglected my need for a daily dose of encouragement, I was in danger of a hardened heart. Encouragement takes different forms, as we see from the definition above. Without writing the entire verses out, I will paraphrase.
Encourage and build one another up: (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Encourage the fearful: (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Encourage others, and consider how to do it: (Hebrews 10:24–25)
The “one another” scriptures have much to do with encouragement.
I was not raised in a Christian home, and as far back as I can remember I was a fearful child and adult. Married at 16 to my only ever boyfriend. Afraid of death, disease, robbery, accidents and on and on. Our family tree was riddled with mental illness, having two aunts and one uncle who were institutionalized from their teen years until death. Mental illness manifested in my life in a debilitating way in my late 20s as inordinate fears and phobias. I was ready to receive the words of Jesus about my need for salvation and deliverance. Two strangers from Campus Crusade for Christ knocked on my door in June of 1976 and prayed with me to receive Christ. The delivering power of salvation brought immediate peace and God’s love as well—“perfect love casts out fear.” Our family followed in that decision to receive Christ.
One of the first verses the Lord brought to my attention was Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (NIV). Jesus brings the needed deliverance and we walk out that deliverance through God’s Word and obedience. Learning about my identity in Christ from scripture was the most life-changing area of my life.
My greatest Encourager is the Lord Jesus Christ. “May the God who inspires men to endure, and gives them constant encouragement, give you a mind united with one another in your common loyalty to Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5, PHILLIPS).
I can neglect my daily dose of courage by neglecting my relationship with Him through ignoring God’s Word, prayer and the Body of Christ. We are to be “fear governed” not “fears driven.” Note the one fear we are to have from the Bible. It is the command from the Lord to encourage one another. I am to consider how to encourage and to be alert to those around me who may be battling the kind of fear that I remember so well.
As one author puts it from Encouragement, the Key to Caring by Dr. Larry Crabb and Dr. Dan Allender: “Regarding our relationships with each other our words can encourage, discourage or do nothing. The word discourage says it all, meaning ‘to take away courage from others.’”
In Numbers, when the spies brought back a negative report and spread fear to their brothers and sisters, God called that evil. Speak life and not death to yourself and to others.
From Romans 12, one of the seven gifts is encouragement, which I discovered I have from the gifts test. Knowing my gifts of perceiver, encourager and teacher was so important to know my strengths and weaknesses and to understand how the Lord wanted me to function in His church. If you have not taken our gifts test at The Father’s House, do so. You will not be sorry. It has been life-changing. Also learning your language of love and how you are filled up from others is really important in family relationships. The five love languages are acts of service, encouragement (words of affirmation), gift giving, physical touch and time spent (quality time).
Do not neglect your need for your daily dose of courage through your relationship with Jesus through the Word of God, prayer and the body of Christ. He wants us to be faith-filled, confident women. As I close out my story I want to end with another scripture that has been my “go-to” scripture: “So do not throw away your confidence, for it will be richly rewarded” (Hebrews 10:35, NIV).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Christiansen is married to Buzz, and the two just happily celebrated their 51st anniversary on June 14. They have two daughters and seven grandchildren. Barbara is the mother of Pastor Tracy Daugherty. She has been the prayer coordinator for TFH since the beginning. Barbara was led to Christ by a stranger from Campus Crusade for Christ who came to her door. Her family followed in her decision in 1976. One of her favorite verses: “Encourage one another daily, while it is still called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).