Today’s episode is all about providing encouragement for others, a topic which is often minimized yet we all know how much we love to be encouraged by other people. Ray opens up about the most discouraging seasons he has experienced in his own life, specifically when he was suffering from agoraphobia, and how he was able to overcome them. What is so inspiring about Ray’s story was that in his own times of discouragement, he was able to still encourage others and still does so today. 2 Corinthians 1 says “God comforts us in all our afflictions and we may be able to comfort others with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
In the day of self help and expressive individualism, there is often a right and a wrong way to encourage people. Encouraging people unto themselves leaves them feeling defeated, while encouraging them in their relationship with God and His glory to find Him as their one source of comfort. Today, many Americans living in densely populated areas don’t even know the names of their neighbors. God desires to save us out of isolation and into community so that we may lift each other up and remind ourselves of God’s graces in our lives.
For the gospel’s sake, we must continue to encourage unsaved people. The ministry of encouragement is open to Christians as it is to no others, because they have the power of the Holy Spirit to lead them to truth and a Father to protect and bless them eternally. Christians are ultimately motivated by the love of Christ. Though our words may encourage others, what people really need is to hear the Scripture. Three ways we may encourage others include being specific, intentional and give gifts. Christians are not exempt from their own needs for encouragement and we should all stove to life each other up. God commands us to look back at the cloud of witnesses who persevered through difficulties and forward at Jesus as the one we are moving towards. There is value in choosing our words and encouragement intentionally. We have an indescribable power to touch other people’s lives and lift them up.