Monday, December 31, 2012

2013: A Year Of The Encourager

As I read through various blogs and facebook pages I see many people are hoping to have a good new year. It is natural for us to desire to have a better year than what we just experienced, desiring peace and prosperity. But I want to challenge you on something as we stare into the dark abyss of this mysterious brand new year. I challenge you to be determined not to look to what you desire in the new year but instead to desire to make it a good year for other people. I challenge you to be an encourager this year.

It's easy to get caught up in the dramas of our own life. It's easy to focus on our desires and our needs. It's easy to lose sight of what is important to Jesus and thus important to us. So I am challenging you to take the more difficult path this year. Take the path that shows your trust in our Father to look after your needs, set aside yourself, and concentrate on what is important to Jesus, which is people. One of the most powerful and lacking ministries in the Kingdom is that of the encourager, yet it doesn't take much; just a few words will do it:

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. (Colossians 2:5)

We spend a lot of time complaining about people but what if we were to put that energy into lifting people up. Paul pointed out two strong aspects of the Colossian church; they were a people who were orderly and they were firm in their faith. Imagine how those words must have impacted that church. Imagine the next time they faced opposition how those words would have encouraged them to remain strong. Imagine how those words prevented some of the weaker Christians from giving up. Now imagine what your words could do.

To be an encourager is to be a person who understands God's grace. If all you can see in a person is what they do wrong then you do not understand grace. If all you can do is pull a person down and see no value in lifting them up then you do not understand grace. If you can't find two things about a person that are worthy of your praise then you are in need of a refresher course of God's grace. An encourager understands what our Father has done for us through Jesus Christ. An encourager is able to apply that same grace to everyone around them. An encourager sees past the failings to the things God is doing.

We need a lot more encouragers in the Body of Christ. We need people who lift others up, who remind others what God is doing, who remind others who they are in Jesus. We need people who can speak the right words into people's lives, words that inspire, encourage, and cause people to keep on keeping on. Encouragers are selfless, setting aside their own needs to speak into the lives of others. They give of themselves in the same way that Jesus has given to us.

Stop chasing after the things that the world chases after and instead seek the things of the Kingdom in 2013. Make others the priority. Put their needs above your own. Trust the Father to look after you, set aside your complaining spirit, let the words of your mouth only be things worthy of the name of Jesus, things that bring life and not death. Focus on this in 2013 and it will be the most incredible year of your life. Our greatest desire is to be used by God so set your heart on being an encourager and watch what God does. May your 2013 be a wonderfully blessed year as you grow strong in your service to the King.

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