In Hebrews 10:24-25 the Apostle Paul admonishes the saints of God to encourage one another. The word “encourage” is defined as an act of inspiring others with courage, spirit, or confidence. When we encourage others we spur them on, stimulate, reassure, and promote them. No matter how influential, secure, or spiritually mature a person may appear to be, genuine encouragement never fails to help. While some may not be willing to admit it, we all need encouragement as we pursue life goals in the midst of challenges.
We encourage through appreciation and/or affirmation which are distinctively different in focus. Appreciation is given based on what a person does. The level of appreciation given is based on the significance of the accomplishment achieved and will come and go relative to ones accomplishments. Affirmation, on the other hand, goes much deeper. It is directed towards who a person is and asserts their value or importance. While both are forms of encouragement, affirmation is the rarer of the two given, but most required.
We all need encouragement at one time or another. Someone to believe in us – to reassure us of our value and importance – to reinforce our belief in ourselves and our God given ability – to help us pick of the pieces and go on after failure or disappointment – to spur us with increased determination that with God we “can” spite of the odds against us. Even when we don't earn the right to be appreciated, we can still be affirmed. I encourage you by affirming your value to someone else by being a blessing! Take the time to “encourage” someone today through appreciation, affirmation or both!