Priceless Treasures of Encouragement
by Sharon Betters
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV
How many times have you witnessed grief that seems impossible to comfort? Your experience might not include helping a friend whose grief threatens to drive her to the brink of despair. Instead, it could be your teenage son or daughter whose heart is breaking because of a lost friend or bullying or depression. Perhaps your husband feels hopeless because he is in a dead end job and was overlooked for a promotion. Maybe your parents need extra help in ways they don’t want you to help or your mother is newly widowed and feels purposeless without her beloved husband. Maybe your child struggles to see his or her worth in the midst of middle-school drama. Maybe your pastor is under fire and you have no idea why but you want to encourage him to stay strong in the Lord. How do you know what to do?
How can you be a life-giver in such dire circumstances?
The miracle of life-giving encouragement takes place as we develop intimacy with Christ. God encourages us to work out what has been worked in us. His presence in us equips us for the calling of encouragement. Growing in intimacy with Him teaches us the privilege and importance of connecting with one another, which naturally leads us into deeper and more meaningful relationships. The spiritual needs of people in our circle of influence are made clear as a result of time spent with Jesus.
The finished work of Christ is our motivation. Through the ministry of encouragement, we offer to others what we have found in Him. Today’s Treasure verse is a key encouragement passage. Notice it starts with the word, “Therefore.” Chuck often reminded our congregation that when you see the word “therefore” in Scripture, you need to understand what it’s “there for.” Putting Hebrews 10:19-25 into context helps us understand that these were practical, life-giving words to the recipients of this letter. The book of Hebrews was written to frightened Christians. They needed hope. They needed life-giving encouragement! The writer starts with reminding them of the truth of their faith. Hebrews chapters 1-9 describe the supernatural faithfulness of God in sending His Son Jesus as our Savior. Repeatedly the writer reminds us that our God is a promise keeping God and the proof is in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In Hebrews 10:19 he gets practical and declares:
Therefore, (in light of what I have just told you), come boldly into His presence! Lay your burdens at his feet, express your fears, your needs, your sorrows, and then with confidence consider carefully how you can encourage others with this same hope.
Do you see the progression? First, remember the faithfulness of God to keep His promises. He kept the mother of all promises in sending His Son, Jesus, as our Savior. Then soak in your identity as a child of God. Understand that He has planted His seed, His DNA in you. Be confident that He will never deny you as His child. Be intentional about living in a way that reminds people of your brother, Jesus. Reflect His love for you by offering the same help and hope to others through the practice of biblical encouragement.
Embrace this truth and consider how your encouragement to another reflects your spiritual family roots. Take a few minutes to revel in our promise keeping God and Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Messiah. Now ask the Lord how you can reflect His presence in you to a friend who needs encouragement that helps turn their heart toward Him.
Read Today’s Treasure verse, Hebrews 10:19-25 again. Insert your loved one’s name into Hebrews 10:24 and make it your prayer:
Lord, my heart breaks for _____________. I don’t know how to encourage their heart toward you. Show me how to be a conduit of your presence, to stir up their heart in a way that leads them to you.
Reach out to your shattered friend, a moody teenager, a difficult employee, or a depressed husband after you have prayerfully considered how to encourage them. Obey this command as a way to offer the help and hope you have experienced in your own relationship to Jesus. At the beginning of the crisis, your emotional ties and shared sorrow might be what drives you to stay connected to them. In time, emotions will not be enough, because often the journey is long and signs of healing are few and faint. In those moments, choose to obey, knowing God has equipped you for this calling.
Father, we have no words adequate enough to describe our gratitude for Your love and faithfulness. Whenever we doubt Your faithfulness, we can run to the cross and remember the sacrifice of Your dear Son, Jesus. You kept the promise made before the foundation of the world was laid. Show us how to confidently encourage others to trust You as their promise keeping God.