One of the most powerful choices we can make in our relationships with others is the choice to encourage them. Encouragement builds courage into others. But it’s rare. Maybe we’re reluctant to encourage because we don’t know how. Or maybe we’re afraid. Will encouragement be there for us if we give encouragement away? Imagine the relational revival if we all became people of exuberant encouragement.
The biblical definition of the Greek word, “encourage” (parakaleo) is to urge, exhort and comfort. In what sense does the idea of encouragement imply building courage into someone? How are you most likely to be encouraged by others?
The command to encourage others (parakaleo) is found throughout the New Testament. Read the following verses from 1 Thessalonians and highlight any themes you see regarding encouragement: 1 Thessalonians 2:11, 3:2, 4:1, 5:11.
Read Hebrews 3:12-13. Why does the writer of Hebrews urge us to encourage each other daily? Who do you encourage daily (or often)? Who encourages you?
Think about the word “discourage”. How is your courage affected when you are discouraged? What kinds of things create discouragement in you? Read Acts 14:21-22, 15:32, and 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Why were people sent to encourage fellow believers?
The historic preacher John Wesley would often require small group members to ask a pointed question of each other: “How is it with your soul?” How can this question help us build an encouraging community? How would you answer that question today?
Why are words one of the most powerful ways we can encourage others? Read Proverbs 12:25, 15:4, 16:24, 18:21. In the next few days, deliberately target someone to be the recipient of your encouragement! Through your encouragement, you could make a profound difference for another person.