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The Spirit of Encouragement - Part I

The Spirit of Encouragement - Part I

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Published by Andrew Mitry

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Published by: Andrew Mitry on Nov 16, 2010
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The Spirit of Encouragement - Part I
1.
Introduction
Encouragement in service is vital for a healthy and fruitful service. We all needencouragement! The servant can really thrive in their service if properly encour-aged, or they may not achieve their full Christian potential if they are not properlyencouraged.
Christian encouragement builds the spirituality of the servant, whereas discourage-ment and negative talk bring them down and makes them unproductive and stagnant.
We can be a great spiritual stumbling block to others if we do not encourage them intheir service.
The person who is full of encouragement is full of the Holy Spirit. The person whofinds it difficult and even impossible to encourage others is greatly lacking in theirspiritual life and is in spiritual decline.
We must encourage one another in service! This is the only way that service canspiritually grow so that all can be of one mind, one heart, and one spirit.2.
Barnabas - The Son of Encouragement
A great example of a servant who encourages others in the Bible is Barnabas.
Barnabas was a great leader in the early Christian church. His Jewish name wasJoseph but he was such an inspiration that the apostles gave him the nickname,Barnabas, meaning “Son of Encouragement.”
He is first mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Acts, for his outstanding exampleof generosity when he sold a field that he owned and then took the money to theapostles to distribute to those in need (Acts 4:32-37).
In Acts 9:27, Barnabas is seen encouraging Saint Paul. Saint Paul, who was originallySaul of Tarsus, had made a name for himself persecuting and killing Christians.After his radical conversion experience, St. Paul went right to work preaching thatJesus was the Son of God but many Christians were understandably suspicious of hismotives. However, Barnabas befriended him and even took him to the apostles inJerusalem for an introduction.
Next, we read of Barnabas encouraging new believers in Antioch (Acts 11:22-26). Hewas described as a good man, confident in the Holy Spirit. Many people came tobelief with his help. During this time, Barnabas went to find St. Paul and broughthim back to Antioch, where they worked together.1
 
Later, Barnabas stood up to St. Paul in defense of a young disciple, John Mark,who did not meet St. Paul’s expectations on an earlier missionary journey. Here, St.Paul parted with John Mark, taking Silas on his journeys, and it was Barnabas whotook John Mark under his wing. His objective was encouraging and building a futureleader in the church.
As we read about Barnabas, we see a man who had a close walk with God.
He was willing to give his personal wealth to help the less fortunate.
He was confident enough in the Holy Spirit leading that he trusted and befriendedthe repentant persecutor of Christians Saul.
He went out of his way to help new believers in their walk with Christ.
He was strong enough to stand up to the dynamic St. Paul, knowing his placewas that of an encourager.
Barnabas fulfilled God’s purpose for him as an encourager.3.
Characteristics of an Encouraging Person
(a)
The Cup is Always Half Full
- An encouraging person always has a positivedisposition on service and always sees the cup as half full instead of half empty at alltimes, especially in difficult or uncertain times. The encouraging person always has anoptimistic disposition and view on service. The discouraging person is always negativeand sees the service as failing or not meeting their unreasonable and hypocriticalstandards. The discouraging person always points to the negatives and the weaknessesin others.
St. Paul himself was also a great example of an encouraging person, especially laterin his ministry. He always opened and closed his Epistles on a positive note. Healways mentioned people by name and how useful they were in his ministry, and heoften cited their service. He was especially encouraging of a young Timothy, wherehe told him to hold on to his traditions, reminding him of his strong faith.
St. Paul talks specifically about encouragment in Ephesians 4:29, where he says,“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessaryedification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”(b)
Always Optimistic and Supportive of New Services and Ideas
- Anothergreat sign of an encouraging person is their creativity in starting new and ambitiousservices, or expanding existing services for growth and fruitfulness in service. Theencouraging servant always thinks big, and plans services that may seem impossible,whereas the discouraging person loves the status quo and to go backwards. Theencouraging person is always seeking to attain a higher level in their service, to dothings that they have not done before. They love hearing ambitious and creativeideas from others.(c)
Always Seeks and is Eager to Give Words of Encouragement to Others
-The encouraging servant finds joy in uplifting and comforting others. He finds joyand spiritual satisfaction in lifting others to a higher spiritual level by his encouraging2

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