|April 13, 2007
The power to kill or give life
by Jon Walker
“Encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
Ministry — You have the power to kill or give life.
Yes, you, gentle reader – a follower of Christ – are capable of murder, and so am I. We can speak death with our words, or we can speak life.
Perhaps you’ve been on the other side of the messages of the killing kind: “You’re not smart enough. You’re not thin enough. You’re not fast enough. You’re not good enough. A real Christian wouldn’t think such a thing.”
The Bible says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)
In a world where people are beat up and put down, God gives you superhero power to punch through the negativity. You speak life to others when you say: “You matter to me. I like you just the way you are. You’re human, anyone could think that. Your life counts. You were created for a purpose. God loves you, and you’re incredibly valuable to him.”
Your words may be the only encouraging thing some people hear in a day, or a week, or a month. You, yes, you can become the voice of God’s grace in the lives of others – supporting, loving, helping, and encouraging with the words that flow from your mouth. (Romans 14:19b)
In the New Testament, the word ‘encouragement’ often means “to come alongside.” We’re to come alongside one another, “building each other up,” just as the Holy Encourager comes alongside us to teach us and remind us of the way of Jesus. (John 14:26)
We become encouragers when we stop looking down and start looking up (Colossians 3:2) – the need and opportunity for encouragement is everywhere. “Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us,” (Romans 15:2a MSG) and this “will build them up.” (Romans 15:2b NLT)
So, how about it? Will you become today a consistent source of encouragement to those around you? It’s a choice on your part: you can lift a person’s spirit, change the atmosphere of your office, or lighten the burden of someone in your small group. The Bible says we should “look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15b MSG).
· Focus on what’s really important – In order to become an encourager, you must change your priorities, adjust your agenda, and focus on the fact that people are more valuable to God than your opinions .
· Value other people – If people are valuable to God, they should be valuable to you. An encourager works hard at bringing out the best in others.
· Commit to encouragement – From this day forward choose to build up the people around you. Pepper your conversations with phrases like: “I believe in you,” “I’m grateful for you,” “I see God using you,” “I appreciate you,” and “I’m glad you’re in my life.”
· Be encouraged – There is good news of great joy for all people, and his name is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-10)
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.