Theme of the Week: Encouragement Changes Lives
Bible Verse: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 23:1-18
He was anointed to be the leader of his nation. There was an obstacle in the way, though: the position was not yet open. Meanwhile, he continued to worship God, serve his country, and fulfill his family role by taking care of sheep in the fields. His name was David. David soon became a hero to his fellow citizens because of his strong faith in God and his military success against the Philistines, the enemy of his native Israel. After courageously facing and killing Goliath, David was soon praised by the crowds. The present king Saul soon turned from friend to foe as his jealousy of David consumed his remaining years of rule. David was hounded and relentlessly pursued so much that one day he reached the proverbial end of his rope. This one day was one of the lowest, most depressing times of his life. He felt physically, emotionally, and even spiritually exhausted. What was David to do? If ever he was in need of a supporting friend, it was now.
Amazingly, the rescue came in the form of the son of David’s sworn enemy! The Bible describes it in these words:
And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. (1 Samuel 23:16)
Jonathan knew that he had risked his own life to help David. If he was caught, Jonathan would likely have paid the ultimate price by losing his own life. Jonathan intentionally chose to encourage David by restoring his faith and joy in God. To strengthen David’s hand was to help restore David’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical resources to keep on living. In this context, intentional encouragement is restoring David’s will to live.
Imagine yourself coming alongside a friend and restoring his or her will to live. Many of us are so busy with our plans and schedules that we fail to stop and seek to understand just a little of the struggle that a family member, co-worker, or neighbor is facing.
But this is the core of intentional encouragement – to intend to pay whatever price is necessary to understand, help, and inspire a spouse, child, neighbor, or friend. What made Jonathan’s encouragement so effective? His encouragement was based on the covenant love of God (1 Samuel 23:18).
When God initiates a covenant, He never fails to abide by it. God’s love and grace is unfailing because God Himself never fails us. When God declares His love for you, it is absolutely reliable. You can count on God even though He cannot always count on you or me. We can trust that God will always forgive and love us through his new covenant in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:32). If you commit yourself fully and unconditionally to God, he can love and lift another person through you. Based on God’s unfailing love, you can be that intentionally encouraging friend who is always there in time of need.
Taken from Majesty in Motion: Creating an Encouragement Culture in All Your Relationships Stewart Brown, © 2009. Used by permission of Word Alive Press. All rights reserved.
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