Encourage. To put in courage. It is what we are supposed to do for each other. As Christians we are called to encourage one another as seen throughout the New Testament. So, what happens when those that are supposed to be your encouragers become your dis-couragers?
If you read my blog at all you will know that over the last few months I have entered into a new season of life where I can no longer hide from the voice of God when it comes to my stuff or giving to those in need. I believe I hear very clearly what Jesus is asking of me. I have begun to take small steps, baby steps really, towards living a life abandoned to Him. So far it hasn't even been that difficult. There isn't anything that I have given up that greatly affects my well-being or that of my family. I am not having to meet in secret under the threat of death to study God's Word. I am not having to do without food or water in order to provide for those around me that are in need. I am not putting my husband or child in danger with my actions. Yet I am experiencing resistance, discouragement and a little ridicule.
All I did was give up gifts for a year (www.theyesclub.org) so that the money normally spent on these gifts can now be given to fund wells where people are drinking dirty water. This is not radical. This is not sacrificial. Did you know that water related diseases cause 2.2 million deaths a year; every day diarrhea takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa - more than any other single cause of death. Safe water, a toilet, and clean hands could prevent 90% of these deaths. This. Is. Not. Okay.
Today I was told that I was being ridiculous and actually had someone special in my life become frustrated with me. I'll be honest, it stung and I let my feelings get hurt, but then this came to mind. "’But He answered and said to them, 'My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.'" (Luke 8:21). It may be disappointing for some of my earthly relationships but when I choose to follow the will of God and not man then Jesus is literally my family supporting me.
We are promised that when we follow God that we will experience difficulty, even persecution (Matthew 10:22-23). Now, I would never call what I experienced persecution. There are Christians around the world today actually experiencing persecution. But having this little experience gives me a tiny, minuscule taste of difficulty. I am thankful to have yet another reminder to be praying for my brothers and sisters across the world that have their safety, their family, and their lives threatened.
In the end let me ENcourage you. Do the thing that God is leading you to do, no matter how silly or against the grain it is. His plans are for His Glory and our good. Read the Bible for yourself and do the things Jesus asks us to do. This will take a lifetime of learning but the first step can begin today. If you have a discourager in your life, pray for that person. It could be that your choice of following Christ is shining a light into the dark places in their life. If God has called you to do something whether it is a baby step like me or a radical move please post it in the comments so I can join in praying for you (you can even write “private” and I won’t post on the site). Know this, I support you in listening to God and acting with determination.
With a Thankful Heart,
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. John 15:19-21