1. Be Encouraging in Your Walk
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome about their relationships with others. He assured them they could have godly, Christ-honoring relationships. In Romans 12:9 he said, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” The first area the Apostle Paul spoke about was walking in honesty. The word dissimulation means to let your love be an unfeigned love.
Nothing will discourage a family more than the inconsistent walk of the leader within that family. Inconsistency in leadership will always bring discouragement to those who follow. One of the great challenges in leadership and relationships is walking in honesty. None of us are perfect, but our desire should be to love without dissimulation.
Someone said, “A hypocrite can be defined as someone who complains that there is too much sex and violence on his VCR.” Many people could be characterized by this statement. They talk about no prayer in the public school, but they never pray at home. They talk about all the problems with sin in society, while their own families are filled with it.
The year 2005 was a year filled with political wrangling and natural disasters. On the Internet there is a site you can visit to find Webster’s Dictionary. The same year, seven million people visited that site to find the meaning of words. A report was published a few weeks ago about the top ten words people wanted to know the meanings of. The report listed words like filibuster, tsunami, and refugee. But of all the words people looked up the meaning of most, the number one word was integrity. One of the editors of the site said, “I think the American people have isolated a very important issue that our society seems to be dealing with right now.”
If you want to be an encouragement to your family and to those with whom you associate, make sure you are walking in honesty. There are no tears more bitter than those of a little child who sees a daddy walk out on the family. No crying more bitter than a wife who just found out that her husband was unfaithful.
The Bible tells us we must walk in love if we are to be an encouragement to others. Romans 12:9–10 says, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.” When we study Christian love in Romans chapter twelve we see very quickly that it is a benevolent love. Christian love is always an active and giving love. It is more than an emotion or a feeling. It is an action. In John 3:16 the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Whenever God’s love is shown forth it is always accompanied with action.
God’s love is completely different from the world’s love.
In verse nine the Bible says, “Abhor that which is evil.” Godly love abhors evil. So many times, people in this world say, “If you love me, drink this. If you love me, do this.” But God’s love will never take you to a cesspool of sin. What the world calls love is simply empty lust. God’s love is without evil.
God’s love will cause you to cleave to that which is good. The Bible says in Romans 12:9, “Cleave to that which is good.” Those things that are virtuous and pure…these are the attributes Christian people should love. God’s love will cause us to be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love. In Philippians 2:3 the Bible says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” This is the true meaning of biblical love.
We also see forgiveness. I do not care which relationship you are talking about or how strong the marriage, there will come a time in every relationship and marriage when forgiveness is the only way to resolve. In Romans 12:14 the Bible says, “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” Verse 17 says, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Verse 21 says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” There will come times in your life when you will be hurt, slandered, or worse. In those times you cannot control the actions of others but you can control your reaction to them.
2. Be Encouraging in Your Work
God wants us to make a difference where we work. Romans 12:9 says, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. ” I believe Christian people should be the best workers in the workplace—people who are principled and walking in integrity. The word slothful means sluggish. We lose billions of dollars a year in our economy because of tardiness and people who talk too much or take breaks for no reason at all. Ephesians 6:6 says, “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Years ago I was at a meeting where I preached consecutively several times. After preaching, a pastor came up to me and said, “Brother Chappell, you are intense!” I have thought about that statement many times. I think the only way to really live for the Lord is with some intensity. I do not want live as if the ministry is not important. I am about the King’s business. I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ.
You may be the only representative of Jesus that people ever see. I challenge you to be fervent in your work, and whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord.
3. Be Encouraging in Your Witness for the Lord Jesus Christ
Every one of us are witnesses and have the opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 says: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” I can tell you unequivocally that it is God’s will for you to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Jesus Christ has commissioned us to be His witnesses.
I heard of a widow lady who often went to the post office to buy stamps. She enjoyed standing in line, walking up to the counter, and buying stamps personally from the lady behind the counter. One day she went during the Christmas season. It was an extremely busy day. The line she was standing in was very long. The lady standing next to her asked, “What are you doing?” The widow replied, “I’m waiting to buy stamps.”
The other lady kindly said, “Ma’am, you can go over there to the machine and buy stamps. It is not necessary for you to stand in line.” The widow lady said, “I know, but the machines don’t ask me about my arthritis.”
There is someone in your life waiting for you to bear a burden. Someone is waiting for you to invest in his life. Think intentionally about who God could use you to touch. Who is it God wants to use you to invest your life into this week? Maybe it’s a friend or co-worker. Choose to be an encourager.