Encouragement is so powerful that receiving it may cause someone to fulfill
their destiny and being deprived of it will cause one to miss their purpose in life.
Encouragement comes from people and from God and both are essential for our well-being. Everyone needs encouragement; many experience the joy of giving it to others, but some have an extraordinary gift of encouragement. It becomes a
supernatural, Holy Spirit gift. Then it should be exercised deliberately, with great intention and authority. Whoever has this gift should minister it liberally.
Encouragement may come from seven sources:
- Approbation from parents.
- The approval and inclusion from other people.
- Positive accolades and exhortations from people. 4. Prophetic words.
- Honorable accomplishments that we achieve.
- The manifest presence of the Lord as experienced
during times of genuine worship.
- The recognizable favor of God on one’s life.
Experiencing all of these encouragements is best;
experiencing some of them is good; experiencing a few or none of them produces depression.
Those who suffer from depression may have a medical problem, but more than likely, they have been robbed of sufficient and meaningful encouragement.
Receiving encouragement can be compared to receiving money. It feels good and can be very useful. Encouragement from one person may be like receiving a dollar from a nation whose dollar value is really low. It is still good but it has the value of receiving just a few pennies and that does not go far. Receiving a constant flow of encouragement however, from the right people or from God is like receiving thousands of dollars from a nation that has an amazing dollar value. This encouragement can empower a person to move forward and fulfill their dreams and destiny.
The book of Romans highlights this amazing gift.
We read, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Rom. 12:6-8
In this scripture, we find 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. At Christmas, we may receive gifts that we cannot use, so we re-gift them and pass them on to someone else. These spiritual gifts are similar; God gives us a gift and we rewrap it and give it as a precious gift to someone else. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are tools of power that we extend to bless and enable other people.
This list includes: prophecy, teaching, encouraging, serving, generous giving, leadership and showing mercy. Each of these gifts, including encouragement, are needed for our health and maturity. Every minister of the Gospel should express all of them at some level. Without these gifts, God’s people are in lack. The
Corinthian letter exhorts us, “Eagerly desire the greater gifts.” 1Co. 12:31 Which of these gifts do you desire?
Two prominent titles for the Holy Spirit are Teacher and Comforter, but the word comforter is better translated “encourager.” So, the Holy Spirit is actually called the Teacher and the Encourager. Encouragement is a gift of the Holy Spirit and it moves through people for the purpose of ministry.
Now, let me show you a man of encouragement. “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:36-37
This Joseph was renamed by the apostles because he exercised the supernatural, Holy Spirit gift of encouragement. Positive, life-giving words emanated from him.
Many lives were changed because of his outstanding gift. His
powerful encouragement was so noticeable that the apostolic
leaders of the Jerusalem church renamed him Barnabas (Son of Encouragement).
His supernatural gifts were so powerful that Barnabas was chosen to partner with Paul on his first missionary journey (see Acts 13:1-3).
Sometime later, Paul and Barnabas had a major disagreement. They wanted to revisit the churches, but Paul refused to bring John
Mark, who had disappointed them on a previous mission. Barnabas, the man of encouragement, would not leave his young cousin behind. Both apostles were so convinced that their personal decision was the right one, that they painfully parted company. Paul took Silas and went to Syria and Barnabas took John Mark and went to minister to his native people in Cyprus.
Some say that Barnabas was wrong and forfeited some of his destiny because of his decision, while Paul’s exploits continued on to greatness. A Bible search reveals that this is not true. In later epistles, Paul speaks highly of Barnabas and his amazing ministry. At the end of Paul’s life he calls for John Mark to come to him, for no one can help him in the ministry like John Mark.
The modern church can learn from Barnabas. We may give up on people when we should sustain them with encouragement. The powerful gift of encouragement would not allow Barnabas to dismiss the failing John Mark. As a result of his encouragement gift, Barnabas continued to be acclaimed among the apostles and to be used of God. Besides this, John Mark was rescued from failure and derailment and became an amazing minister. For further study, see Acts 15: 36-40, 1Cor. 9:6, Gal. 2:1, 2Tim. 4:11, Col. 4:10 and 1Pe. 5:13
Paul learned to be a great encourager. We see this in all of his letters. When he exhorts Timothy and Titus to rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering, he is not saying that they should merely correct and teach. The word exhort is better translated encourage. He is teaching them, and all pastors, to correct and encourage. Here is God’s kindness, ministers are not first of all policemen and judges, but helpers, encouragers and equippers.
Jesus is the champion encourager. Regardless of people’s disposition, he encouraged them. He ministered acceptance to the woman taken in adultery, the Samaritan and her friends, blind Bartimaeus, Zacchaeus the tax collector, and to children who were being shunned.
Encouragement may well be the most far-reaching and yet the most underestimated supernatural gift.
A teaching gift must be exercised in order for it to mature – so it is with encouragement. Everyone should be an encourager. Some will excel with this gift and their encouragement will become supernatural. Then, by God’s grace, they will lift people high and help them find their destiny.