It's a responsibility I do not take lightly.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
I truly enjoy encouraging others, beginning at home with family and friends, at the workplace or among strangers in passing. I sincerely believe we are to be caretakers of the heart. I have been blessed by God through his grace with the gift of encouragement. Through our daily interaction, this gift is in full operation. We are made in his image, which includes his characteristics. We inherited through our relationship with Christ the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, all qualities we need when leading others to Christ or encouraging those who are uncertain.
It's a responsibility I do not take lightly.
You never know who may cross your path who is on the edge in life, ready to throw in the towel. It is vital followers of Christ remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit when led to help others (John 14:26). My obedience brings honor to the lord and immense joy to me in witnessing the change that comes over a person when the realization sets in that you can do what God said can be done.
It is extremely important to have a good listening ear (Revelation 2:7) when encouraging others. Never speak to hear yourself. Instead, tune your ear toward the Holy Spirit, sharing only what has been laid upon your heart (2 Peter 1:21). This way, you can validate what is shared through his written word. Our words of encouragement should always line up with the will of God.
Never be too busy to stop and encourage another. If you are led by the Holy Spirit to call someone who had been laid upon your heart at the oddest time of day or night, do it. Lately this has occurred on more than one occasion, and each time the call or interaction was right on time.
"The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love." Zephaniah 3
It is never an inconvenience when doing the work of the Lord.
Allow me to share: A co-worker I never had met required a ride home after a long day at a child's event. I heard the young man ask several people for a ride home, all with legitimate reasons they could not. I heard myself offer a ride. He lives around the corner from me. The young man was shocked and humbly appreciative that I had offered. What would have been a-10 minute ride home among strangers turned into a parking lot hour-long conversation initiated by my guest regarding the Lord.
The young man was uncertain of Jesus and what was written about him in the New Testament as truth. His questions would have unsettled one who did not know the word. As he spoke, I prayed for the lord’s guidance when it was time to respond. I listened and learned. He listened and learned. We agreed to disagree in love on some things. You see, the mistake most Christians make is to force a belief or doctrine on another instead of simply conversing in mutual respect for one another. The word can defend itself and does not need us to convince others to believe. I shared truth through my King James Bible I carry with me. In the end, he said us meeting was not coincidence. I concur. We agreed God had set our divine appointment for that very moment. It was important that the Holy Spirit had the floor in our interaction, which will eventually seal his fate as a believer in the end. Salvation was on the line. No need to say who won that battle. King Jesus.
I understand it's not easy ministering to loves ones or friends who may have hard heads. It is personal, and the self has difficulty moving out of the way. No matter what is said or done, they are bent on doing life the hard way. When this occurs, fall back. Pray for the individual in love and with concern for their situation. Most importantly, allow the lord to work on the heart. The power of prayer works (Mark 11:24). Eventually all will fall into place.
Remember, every situation we face has a solution in place ready to be discovered and achieved. The key to a successful life depends on our trust in Christ and belief it can be accomplished. We must always remember that in the heart of Christ, no one is a lost cause. We all are worthy of his love.
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people." Ephesians 1:18
Until next week, go in peace, be blessed and continue to bless others along the way.
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 857-2200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.