The secret to encouraging others is to be motivated by LOVE. Not just the phileo (friendship) type of love but the agape (God’s love) kind of love! When the Lord asked Peter if he loved Him in John 21:15 and the following verses, He was asking Peter if he had the kind of agape love for Him. Peter responded with the friendship love for the Lord. The Lord did not condemn him but accepted his response.
In Romans 12:9, it says that our “love must be sincere.” The passage goes on to give very practical ways to minister encouragement toward others but we must remember that we are motivated by His love as we serve others. For instance, we are challenged to honor others above ourselves, be joyful, patient, faithful, humble, hospitable and to live at peace with everyone.
As we think about fulfilling the ministry of encouragement, here are some practical ways of carrying out that mission:
- Pray for and with others
- Share Scripture verses of encouragement (the Psalms are especially rich)
- Listen, listen, listen
- Write notes and cards of encouragement
- Visit, especially those who are suffering through life circumstances
- Keep consistent contact
- Compliment them
- Express appreciation for who they are and what they have done
- Give of your time and resources to others in need
- Spur others on to good works
- Walk alongside them no matter what they are facing
- Extend hospitality
Question to think about: How does God’s love shine through you as you encourage others?