Discouragement tends to cause us to feel defeated, and to give up more easily. But the one who is encouraged finds strength enough to press on. They find a renewed spirit that is ready to fight the good fight of faith.
Imagine being in David’s shoes, when the king wanted you dead – that would definitely cause someone to be discouraged. When you had done nothing but good to the King, and were only trying to help, and yet, he hated you and wanted you dead. David could have succumb to discouragement, he could have given up, but he had a friend in Jonathan– who encouraged him.
The word “encourage” means: – to give courage, – to strengthen
This is what we find Jonathan doing for David, and in David’s life it made a big difference. Truly, in anyone’s life, encouragement will make a difference. Sometimes it will be life changing, sometimes it will be day changing, but encouragement makes changes.
I. The Power of Encouragement
It changed David’s attitude, and hope for the future. Encouragement has the power to change one’s thoughts, it has the power to change one’s emotions, it has the power to change one’s course of action, it has the power to changes one’s attitude. For David, it helped him not give up.
We just don’t know what people are going through at times. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We don’t know what one’s future will be. We don’t know what is going on inside someone’s mind and heart. But many times the Lord is saying to us, encourage that person, lift them, edify them. I Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
II. The Ways of Encouragement
our words – I Samuel 20:2
our actions – I Samuel 20:4
Johnathan encouraged David in both these ways. David was so distraught, he was so upset, he was beside himself, and truly he needed his friend to encourage him. Did Jonathan yell at him, or laugh at him? No, he encouraged him and it gave him hope for another day.
words – Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue:
actions – Jonathan didn’t just stop with what he said, he, also, let his actions encourage his friend. He made a vow and kept it. Encouragement by using actions is much more demanding, and takes more sacrifice than just words, but it is often what is necessary! A little act of kindness can be a great encouragement, and a great act of labor can be a life changing experience.
III. The Results of Encouragement
Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up
A. You help someone keep on going
B. You get encouragement from giving others encouragement.
Encouragers get encouraged. This is the law of sowing and reaping, you will reap encouragement when you sow it in others. Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
If you need some encouragement – go find someone to encourage
If you need to be lifted up – go find someone to lift
If you need some joy because of the pressures of life – go give someone joy
Go find a need and fix it, and you will be encouraged. Go find a hurt and help it, and you will be encouraged. Go find a tear and dry it, and you will be encouraged. Go find someone down and lift them, and you will be encouraged. Go find someone sad and encourage them, and you will be encouraged.
C. You receive a reward in Heaven
Mt 25:31 ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
If only more people were a friend like Jonathan, who took it upon themselves to be an encourager to others. How much good could be accomplished, how many lives could be changed, how many people could be helped, and how many depressed could be lifted. I challenge you, dear child of God, to make it a goal in your life – to be an encourager.
– S. Borner, Pastor