My son is a climber. Whether it’s onto a chair, into my lap, or onto the coffee table that he’s not supposed to be on, the boy loves the challenge.
But our couch is just a little bit too tough for him to easily climb. Maybe it’s a bit too tall. Maybe it’s the difficulty of the cushions that give when he pulls up on them. Maybe it’s the slick fabric that covers it. But nonetheless, he finds it extraordinarily difficult to climb.

But today, he did it. By himself!
Want to know the secret of how he did it?

I encouraged him.

“Great job, Rex! You’re almost there! Keep going! You can do it! Not much further…”

I saw that he was almost finished fighting.  He was just about to throw in the towel and go back to climbing other, less difficult things.  But when I encouraged him, I saw him smile.  And try harder to make it.  Instead of giving up, sliding back down the front of the couch yet again, he decided to push forward.  He believed me…that he really could make it.

Laugh all you want, but I’m convinced that my encouragement helped him have the confidence that he needed to accomplish something he had never done before.

And you’re no different.

You need encouragement. Encouragement that what you’re doing matters. That all the hard work you’re doing for the Kingdom really is making a difference. That the hours you’re spending trying to be a better husband really is paying off. That the Race is worth finishing.

And those you’ve been called to lead need encouragement, too. And you’re called to encourage them. Why?

Because this life is too difficult.

It’s too dreary.  Too painful.  Too mind-numbing.  Too long.  Too short.  Too lonely.  Too confusing.  Unrewarding.  Unfulfilling.  Unrelenting.

And we become hardened.  Calloused.  Distant.  Uncaring.  Unmotivated.  Easily swayed.  Easily angered.  Depressed.  Disbelieving.  Drifting.

Without the encouraging words of a friend, a fellow journeyman, we’re all likely to give up.

The sin in this world is incredibly deceitful, and very quickly (the verse below seems to say that this can happen in 1 day) causes us to drift away from the God we love.  It creeps in to the dark recesses of our hearts and finds a home, convincing us that fighting the fight of faith is too tough.  And it’s right.

Stay strong, brothers!  The fight for your heart is worth it.  Hold fast to the end.  Push on through.  And ask for some encouragement along the way.

While you’re at it, why not give some out, too?

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Hebrews 3:12-14)