- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
Some believers just ooze with encouragement. They are such a delight to be around. I am blessed to serve as a pastor in a church where people truly encourage one another. How about you? Do you have that blessing in your life? I sure hope so because we all need it.
Here is a question for you: Are people genuinely encouraged by your words and attitude? Do you have a way of building Christians up in faith and joy? Or would you say your presence has more of a dampening effect on the people around you?
The only way to truly "flow" in a spirit of encouragement is to receive that flow from the One who is the divine Encourager so to speak. God wrote the book on encouragement. Let me say that again. God is the author of encouragement. He invented it. He displays it. And He loves to have His people blessed by it.
Do you want to know the biggest reason people "drop out" of "church life" and Christian ministry? It's because their level of personal encouragement has actually started flowing in the opposite direction. Rather that being filled with the encouraging power of the Holy Spirit, they have become filled with a spirit of discouragement. And all of us have experienced that unwelcome spirit at various points along the way.
The Person of the Holy Spirit is more than qualified to encourage our hearts in the message of the Gospel, and the endless love of God. Our souls were created by God to be filled with His joyful presence. It's that simple. But that doesn't mean it is always easy to "get in the flow" of God's supernatural stream of encouragement.
When we are living in that flow, life seems good. When we step out of that river for an hour or a day or whatever, life can become terribly depressing and gloomy. Who among us has not at times had to battle dreary feelings and a weary heart? And yet, our Lord is always present to help, hold, heal, and wholeheartedly give us His power and inspiration for the journey.
How do you know when you are flowing in that living water from heaven? Well, you experience spiritual joy and a godly vision in your heart and mind. And you truly want to share that spirit with others. You want them to experience deliverance from the "default mode" of man's existence, which includes boredom, restlessness, and a downright depressing attitude. Hey, it is what it is. Let's call a spade a spade. We have all had those times, and yet God has never deserted us even when we have decided to throw a "pity party" or go off on a "woe is me" meltdown.
When was the last time you poured out your feelings of discouragement to God? Those feelings and impressions feel so overwhelming, and only a supernatural river of encouragement will get us through it by the grace of God. Going through it tends to be a bummer because the weight upon our heart is heavy, but getting through it is doable as we receive strength from the Lord. Perseverance is one of the marks of a growing disciple, and one of the hardest things to endure is a spirit of discouragement.
So how hopeful are you today, and how much encouragement do Christians receive by your positive presence? Or is that not part of your daily experience with others right now?
If so, who do you plan to have fix whatever problem currently exists in your spiritual and mental health? If you rely heavily upon the Lord to see you through it, you can come out of that dark tunnel and then be in a position to help others who are going through their own period of discouragement.
In fact, the Lord "comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Cor. 1:4) And the gift goes on.
You really can become a wonderful encourager of Christians if you choose to flow in God's river of encouragement and forgiveness. So hang in there. God loves you. And He is inviting you to look for the light of Christ at the end of your tumultuous tunnel.