A passion of mine is to help people discover what they can do for themselves that I cannot do for them. Why? Because sometimes we look at someone and say, “wow, they have so much joy! Wow, they have great work ethic! Wow, they carry freedom like it’s in their DNA!” While we say that, we may not realize what they went through in their lives to have that joy or work ethic or freedom. They could have walked through fiery trials of need-a-tic-tac dragon breath and come out, sword in hand, the victor. Then again, it could just be the sweet grace of God that they are the way they are. I’ve seen it both ways.
The good in admiring others:
When we admire people, we are often seeing the beautiful things the Lord has put in them that they carry well.
(Note: This in itself is from God. If you are constantly seeing good and admirable things in other people, you may have the gift of encouragement! We cannot see beauty or goodness or lovely things without the grace of God. Everything good, commendable, honorable, and true is from the Lord.)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
The way satan tends to pervert our seeing good in others:
Sometimes we compare or agree with the lie that we ourselves are inferior, because “they have something we don’t”. This is called coveting or jealousy and Jesus isn’t about coveting or jealousy. He’s the opposite. He gives what He has and is jealous FOR people, not OF people.
Truth of the matter is, if others have something intangible, whether it’s joy, confidence, discernment, spontaneity, ease, work ethic, musicianship, put your “wanted trait here”, it’s by the grace of God. It’s from God and for God.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things.” (Romans 11:36)
Even if people do not know Jesus and they have skill or grace in an area, it’s because the Lord gave it to them. Every good thing we have is from the Father.
“ Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” – James 1:17
What then do we do with the good things the Lord has given us?
Use our gifts.
Encourage others who have similar gifting and call those gifts out in them in order that they recognize, acknowledge, and start to practice and grow those gifts.
What do we do with the good things the Lord shows us within other people?
CALL THEM OUT!
I have a personal testimony of this happening within the last few months. Multiple times, different people called out a gift within me that I didn’t realize I had. What did this do within me?
A. It encouraged me that people saw me!
B. It encouraged me that people saw something Jesus-like in me
C. It spurred me on to keep growing and practicing that gift
D. It helped me to remember to agree with Jesus regarding what He is saying about me and my identity.
It might seem that the point is to encourage others, but before we learn to encourage others, we must learn to encourage ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have. If we want to be encouraging to other people, we need to have something to offer. If we want to overflow goodness, love, peace, patience, and joy onto others, we need to be overflowing. We need to learn to encourage ourselves.
The most basic way I have learned to encourage myself is to agree with Truth. We can’t AGREE with Truth if we don’t KNOW Truth. If we don’t KNOW Truth we can READ Truth. The book of Truth is called the Bible. Within this book are books of Truth. It’s all just really one big story, but people tend to break it up. If we need wisdom we can start in Proverbs.
Reading Truth to know Truth is one thing. It’s great! Knowledge is necessary. However, experiencing Truth is amazing! To encourage YO’SELF, spend time with Truth. His name is Jesus. How can you connect with Jesus? These are some ways I’ve heard people connect with Him…
Being in nature
Going to the library
Being with children
1 on 1 conversations with people
Days of solitude
Watching another enjoy an activity
Drinking tea with friends
Holding a baby
These are just some ways people have experienced sweet moments with Jesus. Be creative and ask the Holy Spirit how you can position yourself to realize God’s wild, extravagant love for you. Ask Holy Spirit to show you where to go, what to do, and who to meet with. Ask Holy Spirit to give you awesome adventures!
If you’re still feeling in the slums, the best I’ve got is to
1. Have a dance party
2. Stand up in a mirror and encourage YO’SELF!
If you need to take advice on how to do that, check this out…
Until next time, encourage YO’SELF! Happy 2016!