Over the last couple of months we’ve been discussing the importance of putting on the armor of God and the effects it can have on our daily lives. Last month we discussed the power of words as it relates to how those words are spoken to us and how we respond to them; as well as, the impact of our words towards others if we are not using them to edify and encourage. As we close our series, our focus is on ensuring affirmation & edification.
Disappointment and loss are part of life. Jobs, finances, relationships, and health are at times out of our control! We have our plans; a schedule; a program; and often our expectations are simply not anywhere close to what we actually get! But what do you do when you or someone you love has a setback. How do you respond to those setbacks and losses?
First: Encouragement is a powerful gift when we’re struggling or those around us are hurting. Webster’s dictionary defines the word “Encourage:”
1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope
2. to spur on
3. to give help or patronage to
The Word of God is full of inspiration, hope and help. Go to the Word; allow God to minister to your heart when you need uplifted or encouraged in a difficulty. I often found that God will surround me with godly friends, who will confirm what God has been ministering to me, and/or speak words of encouragement and hope into my life.
“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.” Is 50:4
To encourage the weary and comfort those in need should be as part of our Christian life as the Sunday services we attend. But when we are tired, or busy, do we make the time? Or do we “react” and blurt out something completely inappropriate as discussed last month? Instead of turning to God and relying on what He says, do we find our comfort by grabbing that piece of cake, or glass of wine, or by allowing ourselves to stupor to a sulking and complaining state?
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body. Pr 16:24 AMP
HEALING! Did you hear that? God’s Word brings forth healing when we allow Him to speak to our hearts.
“Encouragement is our way of breathing hope into the lives of those we love when they’re struggling with a flood of fear, loneliness, grief, loss, exhaustion, or disappointment.” **
Second: We can be encouraging at all times – even when our friends are not struggling! How? Refuse to be critical or disparaging. Daily conversations are often wrought with negative mindsets. Affirm, respect and edify those around you! God desires for us to use the power of our words to bring forth encouragement, hope and life. It is when we speak encouraging words to those around us even when they are not struggling, that we also imitate God’s beloved Son, Jesus. Ask each and every morning before you get out of bed:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, (Ps 19:14)
So check yourself throughout the day. Are the words coming out of your mouth pleasing to Him? Are they building others up or are they tearing them down? We are instructed in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unkind word come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up.”
So if you’re mad at your friend, colleague, your boss, your spouse, or your kid, remembers to say to yourself: “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalms 141:3
In closing, I would like to share with you a few statements that I pray God will help you remember to use. Albeit, they are simple but can have a profound impact on those who are in our life.
Words of encouragement:
“God loves you and so do I!”
“I had a bad day, so I may need a few minutes before I can help you.”
“I’m here for you.”
“I believe in you.”
“I’m sorry for what you’re going through.”
“Your feelings matter.”
“I’m praying for you.”
“What would support you right now?”
Dear friend, remember, we want to provide hope to you and your loved ones. And we pray that this series will provide some tools to assist you in bringing hope and encouragement to your heart.
The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver. Pr 24:11
Anna Marie Caulkins