Praise is the outward expression of your deep joy! We praise God in worship on Sunday morning. We praise our team when they do well at sporting events. We praise our kids when they achieve a goal or do something special.
Isn’t cheering someone’s success and accomplishments an invigorating experience? You’ll find the same energy within your spiritual life when you consider how God has moved in history, as well as in your own life. We don’t think about that enough.
Few things will strengthen your faith more than when you cultivate a rich understanding of God through worship. Praise him by remembering his faithfulness to you throughout your years and by looking forward to his promises. When you worship him, your faith will be strengthened, your heart encouraged, and your vision of who God is and how he works will grow.
God has given us the responsibility to honestly confront those who do wrong. For most of us, confrontation is a difficult task. For a few, it’s much too easy. I hope you don’t delight in finding fault in others. If you do, stop and consider if you do this as a way of overlooking your own faults.
I think God wants us to help others see the truth. You can hold up a mirror to your good friends, and they hopefully will do the same for you.
Help others see their faults but do it with great humility. You’re not responsible for the behavior of others, but you are responsible to gently and tactfully point out areas of misbehavior that may cause them to stumble, fall, or lose their way.
Are you avoiding some tough conversations? If you have kids, are you confronting them’and when you do, are you doing it with gentleness and humility? Check yourself. Is your tone respectful? Is your word choice uplifting or condescending? God calls you to show courage by addressing wrong, but remember the goal is always to see the other person restored, not belittled. Help that person turn back to God.
Discouragement will drain your energy, especially when you face trials. That’s why, it’s very helpful to spend time with people who know how to encourage. Some people know just what to do or say to remind you that life is worthwhile, even in the midst of pain and failure. They know how to inspire when there seems to be nothing to hope for. Barnabas, an early follower of Jesus whose name means ‘son of encouragement,’ was just that kind of guy.
Barnabas’s gift of encouragement was demonstrated through his financial generosity, his leadership, and his teaching of new believers. He accepted the apostle Paul when others were afraid of him. And it’s probably accurate to say that Barnabas changed the course of church history by persevering in his encouragement to John Mark.
On his first missionary journey John Mark abandoned his friends. Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. Paul wouldn’t hear of it. But with Barnabas’s encouragement, Mark became faithful in his missionary ministry and was able to renew Paul’s respect and friendship. Later he would write the Gospel of Mark.
Are you feeling discouraged? God’s forgiveness offers you the chance for a new start. Persevere. God is a God of second chances. And in time, you’like Barnabas’will have the privilege of encouraging others along the way.