Do you love the word “encouragement”? I do. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. It doesn’t seem to matter what my mood is or how busy my schedule has been. When someone takes the time to convey a word of encouragement to me, it lifts my spirits and energizes me. I’m willing to propose that it does exactly the same thing for you.
Sometimes encouragement comes through a sincere, and usually an unexpected, verbal compliment – an observation that someone has made and shares with you. At other times the encouragement comes from a written note or an e-mail. While at other times, it may be conveyed very subtly through the nod of a head, a smile, or a gentle hand on the shoulder. And strangely enough there are times when it is conveyed through information or truth which changes the way we look at a challenge, ourselves, or even life. However it comes to us, it gives us renewed courage and increased confidence.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the believers that lived in Philippi, it would seem that his goal was to encourage them to continue to “put into practice” the things that he had taught them. He had brought the good News of Jesus to them a few years before on one of his missionary journeys and he understood that continuing to encourage them was very important. But, his letter of encouragement was not written for them alone. To us, as well, Paul would say “your progress and joy in the faith” is very important to me. It is the reason that I am writing to you. (Phil. 1: 25 – 26)
As you embark on this study, I pray that your faith and your relationship with Jesus will be strengthened and that His joy will fill your heart and life.