1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
I find encouragement to be one of the most fascinating gifts of the Holy Spirit. A kind word in season can break the yoke from a person’s life. I want you to think of the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus through the lens of encouragement (Luke 19:1-10). This man had no chance of encountering the Lord. The crowds were way too big.
When Jesus saw him in the sycamore tree he told him to come down and said that he was going to come to his house to eat with him. This made the religious of the town angry, but it had a powerful effect on the life of this tax collector. After Jesus spent time with him encouraging him he turned his life around. He even decided that the money that he took wrongly he was going to give it back.
When Jesus comes into our life he really become our greatest encourager. Each day the Lord speaks to me. He can speak to you as well if you will cultivate ears to hear what the spirit is saying. Be still and know that he is God. Learn to silence yourself. Learn to be calm in your heart. As you do you will open yourself up to hear him better and what he says is incredible.
When you start hearing his voice as encouragement it changes you. You go from feeling anxious, depressed and fearful to being filled with peace and joy. God has a way of penetrating the darkest places of your heart and shares his light.
Barnabas’ named meant “Son of Encouragement.” Whether that was his nickname or not is not quite certain, but through the years you and I have often heard it said that to be an encourager like Barnabas would be a good thing. So, I declare that this is the hour of the Barnabas anointing being released on the body of Christ.
I have seen encouragement break open entire churches into the glory of God. I remember when I was learning this I didn’t know that God could have an encouraging word for others. I suspected that the people that I didn’t like God didn’t like much either. I know this sound funny and I am being a little facetious, but my behavior seemed to project this.
There was a lady that would keep coming to my church who I didn’t have much of a heart for. In fact, I tried to avoid her as much as I could. I remember the Lord caught me in the act. He said to me, “What are you doing?” When the Lord talks this way it isn’t because he needs an answer. It is because he has caught you in the act. I said, “God, I don’t like the woman…how can I encourage her?”
He said to me, “Don’t you think I have thoughts to prosper and bless her life?”
I said, “I wouldn’t know.”
He said, “Ask me what I think!” And so, I did. I remember that night I closed my eyes real tight when that woman came for prayer and a word rose up in my heart. I didn’t open my eyes for the entire minute or two that I was prophesying encouragement. When I finally opened my eyes, she was crying intense tears. Something broke in her when she heard God’s voice.
I changed in that moment. I wanted to encourage everyone I met. I began to believe God for words for everyone. He gave them to me as well. I prayed and people were impacted everywhere I went. In fact, I started to get known as the “Joyful Prophet who always had encouraging words!”
With that said some people still stir me wrong. Now I just have a different way of thinking about it. I remember recently I was at this one church where I could tell very easily that a man who was there didn’t like me at all. He just kept staring me down. I thought I am going to release God’s best word over him. I even got his name right. He left as angry as when he came in but he knows that God knows his name and he knows that God has a plan for his life.
You can be used the same way. The next time you are praying for someone ask him how he sees them. You will be amazed at how much he loves the people that you are praying for. Ask him to shed his love abroad from you heart. This is the essence of Romans 5:5. The Lord loves everyone and has destiny for each person he has created. Ask the Lord to let you be a conduit through which the Holy Spirit loves the world. He loves prayers like that.
And now I pray for you and ask the Holy Spirit to anoint you fresh so that you will become the Barnabas’ of this generation. May you be anointed for the task and may you run this way from now until eternity’s shores. God is able to make his grace abound in your life. He can do all things through you and will strengthen you. Let him deep in your heart today.