“God never uses a discouraged Christian. He must change him first and then use him.” —Billy Graham
Discouragement comes right before God is going to do something great. It is dangerous to be discouraged. You may make wrong decisions, say things you don’t mean or do things you will later regret. Discouragement is costly. Thus, we need to be leaders who minister encouragement into the heart of people.
“Discourage” means “to dishearten, to depress the spirits of, to lack confidence; that which destroys or abates courage.” Some common causes of discouragement include personal failure, prolonged battle, continued unanswered prayer, emotional strain, physical illness and not understanding that all things work together for good.
“Encouragement is different from teaching or correction; and it is not aimed at educating. It is intended to strengthen a believer in his or her Christian life. The Hebrew meaning of encouragement means “to fasten oneself so as to strengthen, cure, help, repair and fortify.” An encourager fastens himself or herself to another person, providing support and strength for the other. This is a worthy ministry that every person can do.
How can you be an encourager?
Encouragers must first of all be encouraged in God personally. They must have a strong heart and spirit, enough energy in their own battery to jump someone else’s. They must receive from God so that they can pour it out.
Encouragers must look for opportunities to encourage. They cannot be self-centered or always concerned about themselves personally.
Encouragers must take time out of their busy schedule. Encouragement takes time. We cannot be in a hurry all the time. If we are, we risk not seeing the true need. Encouragers must come alongside the person and get on their level.
Encouragers must use positive words of faith to build up the person. We need to use words of approval, love, acceptance, praise and the like. The power of words can never be underestimated. What fills your speech? Let it be words of life and encouragement!