But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you become hardened by the deception of sin. Hebrews 3:13
Sliding Down the Banister of Life
'Sometimes We Just Need a Push'
"Come on, Earl, you can do it!" said Ryan.
"No, he can't," said one bully down below. "He's afraid of everything, even worms."
"Leave him alone," Emily pleaded.
The scene was playtime on the slides out on the church playground. Evidently, time stood still for Earl as he quivered at the top of the high slide and looked around dazed. He knew he was afraid of heights, but enough of the boys had shamed him that he decided he would show them up.
Now, much to his shame, he was stuck. His fear had paralyzed him.
Finally, above the taunting shouts, Earl heard a still, small voice. It was Ryan on the steps behind him. Ryan, too, was afraid of heights, but he'd climbed up anyway behind Earl.
"Earl," he whispered, "you can do it!"
The next thing we saw was Earl and Ryan sliding toward the bottom. They hit the ground, tumbling like rags wrapped around a bouncy ball. Yet they emerged from their entanglement with shouts of victory—their own and those of everyone around them.
It would never have happened without a "push" of encouragement.
Encouragement Creates Momentum
To encourage means to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.
I love the famous words from the Bible that carry this inspiration: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Joshua 1:9).
God knows we're not courageous people. Each one of us has something we fear.
It is said that people's most common fear is that of public speaking. Countless other human fears have been identified, even the fear of clowns, bubbles, or bellybuttons.
But what we fear most is life.
We often live small—not taking risks for fear that things won't turn out as we want. It's just another way of us trying to be God.
Earl and Ryan feared falling from up high, or at least the fear of the sudden stop when hitting the ground.
We're all afraid our lives will be met by tragedy unless we live "safe."
I'm convinced that we cannot truly live without courage. I also believe that God will often use others to encourage us.
"Encourage one another daily," the Bible commands us, "as long as it is called 'Today,' so that sin's deceitfulness may harden none of you" (Hebrews 3:13). We're to encourage daily because we all need it. We need it, and we need to give it.
We need it because sin's deceitfulness tells us that God isn't good.
Or He isn't with us or for us; we're always hearing the whispered words of doom.
But the blessing of God is that He encourages us to do things that we cannot do on our own, to prove that only He can do them through us—thus glorifying Him and not us.
Even our encouragement of others by His Spirit shows the wonder of our need to be a part of His body.
So make a choice today to give and receive encouragement—thus creating the momentum to live your life to the fullness that only God can accomplish through you.
How might you encourage someone daily?
Who in your life do you need to encourage most often?
How has God used others to encourage you?
Lord, thank You for placing people in our life to encourage and who encourage. May we keep our heads and eyes up to see those You want us to encourage. Amen