God’s Story for My Life, October 12, 2014

Be an Encourager

Read 1 Timothy 4:6-16

Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.

Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
(1 Timothy 4:7-16)

Reflect

Timothy’s commission as a church leader was confirmed by prophecy (1 Timothy 1:18) and by the laying on of hands by the elders of the church. He was not a self-appointed leader. As a young leader in a church that had a lot of problems, he may have felt intimidated. But the elders and prophets encouraged him and charged him to use his spiritual gift responsibly. We can have the same effect on others.

Respond

Each day we have many opportunities to support and inspire discouraged family members, fellow workers, and even total strangers. Paul modeled six important principles to help us encourage others: (1) Begin with encouragement. People who know we will encourage them will be happy to work with us. (2) Expect of others only what you expect of yourself. People will resist being held to unfair standards. (3) Develop expectations of others with consideration for their skills, maturity, and experience. People will reject or fail to meet expectations that do not fit them. Be patient with distracted or slow learners. (4) Monitor your expectations of others. Changing circumstances sometimes require revised or reduced expectations. (5) Clarify your expectations with others. People are not likely to hit a target that no one has identified. (6) End with encouragement. People love to be thanked for a job well done.

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