You know about people who gripe, right? They always complain because they are disgusted or disappointed with something. Social Media is full of them, unhappy people who aren’t really happy unless they are making someone else unhappy! They discuss negative things or offer disparaging comments. Unhappy people diss things. They like to dispute more than they like to contribute. There’s a BIG Difference between “en” and “dis”, when it comes to courage. Think about the difference between “Encouragement” and “Discouragement”…
(And by the way, if you are following along, it’s Day 60 of our Reading through the Bible, bringing us to Second Thessalonians…)
A Good Word
“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17, NIV)
Some days it’s just good to hear encouragement. So many things happen in life that wear us down or cause distress that we might just need an encouraging word… Some of those things are merely mechanical. Perhaps you’ve had one of those weeks where your car breaks down, your refrigerator goes out, your flight gets cancelled, or your phone breaks. Days like that are irritating and annoying. And it’s not just these “little” things that tear us down, but on top of that we are beset with bad news, health issues, loneliness, and emotional distress. Life has so many ways to discourage us…
The Difference Between “Dis” and “En”
It was true in the first century and it is true now. If we focus on the negative, we can get caught up in discouragement. But don’t do “dis”: Do “en”. Think about the difference those prefixes can make. “Dis” can turn enchantment into Disenchantment. Courage can be made into Discouragement. But, it can also become Encouragement!
There are lots of ways to distribute encouragement. You can speak an encouraging word, offer a smile, or give a hug. In the days of the great sailing ships, mariners would often tattoo words of encouragement onto their knuckles to remind them what to do. But however you deliver the message, use the positive prefix to offer positive feelings.
Chuck Swindoll encourages us to encourage someone else, and then to take it to another level! He said, “When we encourage others we spur them on, we stimulate and affirm them.” He also said, “Appreciate what someone does, but also affirm who he is. Affirmation goes deeper.” Along those same lines, the Apostle Paul says, “Stand firm” and “hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you“.
Do you know teachings that build you up and give you hope? (I know where you can find some!) The New Testament promises that God (who “loved us by his grace” and gave us “eternal encouragement and good hope”) will Himself encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good word and deed.
An Encouraging Word
Have you ever felt strengthened by God? Have you ever felt encouraged by his presence? God’s encouragement is no small thing. It’s eternal, which always trumps temporary, and you don’t have to earn it because it is freely given to us. What’s more, when we embrace it, it will show up in our actions and our words. So wherever you are, be ENCOURAGED today. Act ENCOURAGING. Speak an ENCOURAGING word. I think you’ll find those are all related.
Take A Little Encouragement Here's a word that I hope will last: Be strong! Stand firm! Hold on; hold fast! Be encouraged today if things go wrong, Find hope in God! Rise up! Be strong! When life is hard and goes amiss, And the world for 'couragement' offers "dis", Remember the man who set his face To go to the cross to take our place And pay the price for amazing grace! He took my place, where I might have been, So I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Because of his courage, I'm all "en"!
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