Encouragement in Christ is something we all need…
because none of us is wired to go it alone. From the very beginning God has designed us to live in community, with others alongside. He did so because we need relationships (Genesis 2:18). It is not good for us to be alone. We need support. We need affirmation. We need encouragement.
In His amazing wisdom God has given us a built-in context to receive that encouragement. It’s called a family.
I know, I know, for many people the word “family” only has negative connotations. It was a place of neglect, abuse, or harsh words. It was a place of legalism, harsh demands, or unrealistic expectations.
If that’s you, please know this: What you experienced is not what God created or planned. The power of sin in the world has taken its toll on families as much as it has anything, and because the family is so vital to our health as human beings, damage that happens in a messed up family is particularly painful. The effects of those experiences linger deep in your soul, all the way into the present.
But those chains of dysfunction can be broken… if you will submit them and yourself to the Spirit of God.
Your family can become a place of encouragement. Your family can build positive, godly habits that transform the generations to come. Your family can be a place where the truth of this scripture is lived out day by day…
I can’t overstate the power of this kind of encouragement. I can’ stress enough how vital it is to the eternal health of your family.
Notice what the passage says:
- Encouragement needs to happen daily. It’s that important.
- Encouragement given yesterday is not adequate for today. Every “today” needs its own dose.
- Encouragement can prevent sin from hardening people.
That’s some powerful stuff, especially that last point.
But keep reading, or else you might make a tragic mistake!
This passage is not talking about just any kind of encouragement. It’s truly Christian encouragement that matters. Statements like the following won’t have the kind of impact you’re looking for…
- “Your hair sure looks nice today.”
- “I like the way you did that.”
- “You are a very nice person.”
Those are all kind, maybe even loving things to say, but they’re not the kind of encouragement that prevents a hardened heart.
This passage is talking about Christian encouragement, encouragement in Christ.
What does encouragement in Christ look like?
The kind of encouragement your family needs is deeply rooted in the truth of scripture. It takes the form of reminders about the promises of God. It’s found in exhortations toward Spirit-empowered living. It’s a type of encouragement that raises your family’s sights far above the “normal” way of living in this world.
Here’s a few examples:
- Today at work, don’t forget that Jesus lives in you. He is ready to empower you for that difficult meeting and to give you confidence in His work through you.
- When you go to school today, remember to listen for the leading of the Spirit so that you can live out His best for you.
- I’m so encouraged to see what Jesus is doing in your life. I see Him more every day through the patience and kindness you’re showing.
Do you see the difference in these two types of encouragement?
The first kind of encouragement is simply nice. It might make your family members feel good about themselves for a while, but it doesn’t have much eternal value.
The second kind of encouragement is powerful, because it points to eternal truths that feed the soul. It’s truly Christian encouragement… that your family needs.
You can find many, many more examples of this in episode number 39 of the Christian Home and Family podcast, when I had a conversation with Pastor Sam Crabtree about the power of this kind of interaction in the home. Sam has written a wonderful book teaching all about it. It’s called “Practicing Affirmation.” (affiliate link)
Why truly Christian encouragement makes such a difference…
The kind of encouragement that builds up the soul is so vital because day after day your family is assaulted by ungodly ideas and temptations. They need a fresh dose of God’s perspective every single day.
With it, they have a fighting chance. Without it, they are sure to fall prey to the hardening effect of sin.
Don’t leave that to chance… especially when you can do something about it.
Stick with it.
The eternal health of your family members is at stake. The generational faith of your lineage could rest on your consistency in providing encouragement in Christ to your family members.
And most of all, God will honor your obedience and faithfulness.
Below is a video interview featuring Pastor Sam Crabtree. He does a wonderful job of explaining this concept of true Christian encouragement. Grab a cup of coffee, get your pencil and paper and take some notes. You’re about to learn some wonderful stuff that can make an eternal difference in your family!