Gilland: The power of encouragement

There is one need that we all face, regardless of our age, background, ethnicity, or level of faith in God, and that is our need for encouragement.

Truth be told, it is often surprising to me just how great a difference that a word of encouragement can make in my own heart. Even the smallest utterance or the slightest gesture can seemingly add that one missing ingredient of courage or strength that is needed to make it through that day, or given task.

This powerful truth in our lives is no accident. The Bible teaches us to be encouragers, and it contains many passages and examples of this oft underestimated act of service.

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Hebrews 3:13 puts it this way: “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Let’s take a look at this one single verse. First of all, we are told to encourage one another. This is not to be the activity of a few, but something that every believer should be doing.

Secondly, we are told to do this daily! Not just an every-now-and-then approach, but something that we look to do every time the sun comes up for another day. And speaking of day…we are to do this “as long as it is called ‘Today.’” Not just a morning thing, nor something that we do as a “one and done.” In just a few words, we begin to grasp the importance of this needed component in our daily lives.

But there is more in this one single sentence, and this may well give us the true picture of the impact that encouragement brings to us all: “so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Think about that directive for just a moment. Our receiving a word of encouragement goes well beyond a momentary happy feeling in our hearts or minds. It actually has great power, enough to prevent us from having our lives permanently scarred or impacted by the sinful lies that we face in our daily lives.

There is an important context that we all must remember, and that is that we live in a world of “sin.” At its most simple root, that is referring to “activity that is contrary to God’s will.” In every moment of every day, we live in a world that is setting itself against God and His plan.

But we who are believers in Jesus have a promise that helps in that process of daily life, a simple act called encouragement. Something that we can say to another, a simple reminder of God’s love to another, or a word of exhortation and a pat on the back that says “you can make it.”

We all need it, and we all can give it away, so long as it is called “today.”

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