May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude.Romans 15:5 [Common English Bible]
One of the things I fail miserably at every day is the effort to be more Christ-like. Where Jesus was kind and patient and gentle, I tend to be cranky, impatient and snarky. Perhaps this is why I’m drawn to encouragement as a spiritual discipline.
I like to encourage people. I want to see people feel empowered and do well and do good. It amazes me how many people don’t recognize and claim their God-given gifts and talents, and I want to be a part of helping others see themselves as powerful and gifted and worth-full. Maybe encouraging others is my best bet of moving toward being just the tiniest bit more Christ like.
I particularly like this verse about encouragement, because it also talks about endurance. May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other. An attitude of endurance and encouragement. For me those two words really capture what it is we need in our journey of faith–endurance and encouragement.
A young friend of mine has had a really lousy year. One bad thing after another has befallen her–mostly things that she didn’t cause and could not have prevented. A big long string of bad luck. She is a young woman of faith with a heart for Christ and desire to serve others, but those things have never prevented bad things from happening (much to our chagrin and frustration).
But she’s got at least two things going for her: the endurance of a faith that has been cultivated over the years by family, friends and community, as well as the encouragement from that same community during this difficult season. And it is just a season. It’s always hard to see that when you’re in one, but this, too shall pass. But while it’s passing, she has the endurance and the encouragement she needs to get through.
Never underestimate the power of building up someone’s endurance by nurturing their faith (Sunday school teachers, youth directors, pastors, Bible study leaders, church communities that invite others in, I’m looking at you.) And never discount the impact that encouragement can make in someone’s life. We all go through difficult seasons, and we need that spirit of encouragement to see us through.
Today, let us all pray that the God of endurance and encouragement will give us that same attitude toward each other, so that we can make it through all that life can throw at us…together.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Doubting Believer is a progressive and inclusive community of Christians. Follow us on Facebook, sign up for emails or learn more about our member group.