Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Courage: Here's Your Cue

Now that we have a comfortable understanding of encouragement, it's important that we take steps to actually put encouragement into practice. Encouragement can be likened to a cue ball from a pool table. The cue ball itself has a lot of potential (i.e. it is the means by which all the other balls are to make it in the pool table's pockets). But, without the force of the pool stick moving and directing the cue ball where it needs to go, it's potential can never be actualized--the cue ball becomes useless. Likewise, encouragement that is never spoken or acted upon is worth absolutely nothing.

In order for encouragement to work, it must be put to use. For example, any responsible parent would tell you that, in order to "train up a child in the way he should go..." (Proverbs 22:6a), he or she must spend a great deal of time encouraging good behavior. Otherwise, if the child's good behavior is never recognized or if they are never encouraged to do better, it's quite possible that they may become frustrated and discouraged. This could ultimately hinder them from improving their behavior or reaching their full potential (Colossians 3:21).

The flow of encouragement between parents and children isn't the only example of a circumstance or situation where encouragement is crucial. Any relationship (whether it be a marriage, dating relationship, friendship, accountability group, etc.) should be full of encouragement. For example, if your accountability partner is struggling with something or has done something wrong, one way to encourage them would be by letting them know you are willing to help them fix the problem and by reminding them of the many verses in the Bible that promise that the Lord is in control. In the same way, if the person you are dating or are married to did something good for you or something that you enjoyed, encourage them to continue to do so by letting them know that you liked it.

As you can imagine, encouragement is a tool with many uses. It can be used to correct someone in a gentle and humble way, convey what behavior you enjoy/expect or help someone feel empowered in order to do something. However, just like the cue ball's potential can never be actualized if the pool stick does not utilize it, the benefits of encouragement can never be brought about if it is not put into practice. Encouragement is too precious to not be used in our everyday lives. Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you by being an encouragement to others? if not, do not wait any longer to vocalize or show encouragement. In fact, consider this your cue.

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