Encourage ~ Pour Courage Into
Have you ever looked for ways to encourage others, maybe your own children, to be thankful? I love these definitions of encourage: to give support, confidence, or hope to; to help or stimulate (an activity, state, or view) to develop; to infuse courage; to pour courage into.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul is sharing about the great suffering that he faced on a continual basis. He comes to the last few verses of that chapter and pours courage into his readers by reminding them of the purpose of his difficulties and their difficulties.
- Those trials were causing the progressive death of the Self and allowed Jesus to live through the shell of Paul’s body (v. 11);
- Those difficulties created a “fellowship of the resurrection;” we do not call this earth “home” but look forward the coming better life (v. 14)
- Those hardships provided an opportunity for God’s grace to sustain us during suffering, which will increase our thanksgiving to the glory of God (v. 15).
- Those afflictions will eventually result in rewards that are ridiculously disproportionate to the suffering (v. 17)
2 Cor. 4:15-17. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
Grace Turned On
There is a grace (supernatural help) that God releases when His people give thanks. When we purposefully choose to think thanks and express that thanks orally or in a written form, we create a space where God loves to dwell, where He delights to touch us. Psalm 22:3 says that God “inhabits the praises of His people.”
Have you ever noticed at mealtimes that Christians sometimes call giving thanks for the food “saying grace?” It is intriguing to think of the connection that grace has to giving thanks. Strong’s Concordance gives an interesting definition for the Greek word charis, normally translated grace: “the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life; including gratitude and thanks; benefit, favor, gift, grace, liberality, joy, pleasure.”
Amazing! The Greek word for grace can also be translated “thanks!” What if our charis to God turns on His charis to us? What if we turn on the faucet of grace every time we are th(i)nkful?! What if our whining and complaining spirit, or just saying nothing, turns down or turns off the flow of God’s grace to us?
Being Spirit-Filled Is A Choice
We know that God’s Spirit dwells within us from the moment of salvation – we have all of the Spirit we will ever get or need. We choose, however, how much His Spirit has of us. When Paul commands us to be filled with the Spirit instead of wine, he is telling us that there is a choice we can make in pursuing the Spirit’s filling. The description of a person filled with the Spirit is that they speak to themselves with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord and they give thanks always and for everything (Eph. 5:18-20).
I am seeking to encourage you to be th(i)nkful in this blogpost. I am seeking to pour courage into you to begin to purposely cultivate thinking thanks. I am seeking to inspire you with obedience to the commands of I Thess. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20, but also trying to motivate you to dream of the grace that is released when we follow hard after God and seek to do His will. He blesses righteousness.
Could you think of one other person in your life that might need to have some courage poured into them to become th(i)nkful?
Dan Has Poured Courage Into My Life
Dan Haines, a dear friend of ours, has encouraged David and me so many times. This photo is from his wedding in which our oldest son Joshua was a ring-bearer.
Many years have passed since that day. Many trials have come along the way, such as the trial of Dan falling from a tree-stand while deer hunting and losing all feeling from the waist down. He pushed through the despair, extreme life-change, and loss of dreams by God’s grace alone, and continues to praise the Lord. He has chosen to think thanks and reflect Christ even in the severe testing ordained by our sovereign God. Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
I dedicate this post to you, Dan. Thank you for your example of thinking thanks and thirsting after our God who never disappoints. How I long to see your body restored one day when we stand side by side and see our Master and King. Proud of you.