encouragement

Spiritual leaders must speak faith into the lives of people.  The last thing anyone needs is one more critic, skeptic or doubter.  We don’t exist as leaders to be dream killers but rather to be faith speakers.  Life offers enough discouragement.  As leaders, our job is to offer the encouragement people need to scale the impossible mountains of life.

We see this played our brilliantly in the Scriptures through a man named Hezekiah, who was the King of Judah.  In 2 Chronicles 32, we read about Hezekiah’s battle with Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.  Sennacherib had invaded Judah and was encamped around Jerusalem preparing his final, and seemingly unstoppable, attack.  The citizens of Jerusalem were in a terrified panic.  Hezekiah stepped into the crisis with these words:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.  With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.

– 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Let’s be clear.  This isn’t the sentimental drivel of the average pep talk.  Hezekiah isn’t aiming for a bunch of #ibelievethatwewillwin retweets.  He’s not blind to the desperation of the situation.  Nor is he telling them to think happy thoughts and just picture the victory in their minds.  Hezekiah’s too good of a leader for any of that.

Instead, he shows us what true encouragement looks like.  He’s leading his people to anchor their hope in the presence and the promises of God.  Yahweh is with His people. He’s mightier than the Assyrian army.  He longs to help.  Jerusalem’s hope isn’t their strength, strategy or savvy.  It’s their Savior.

We find encouragement when we find the faith to believe God will fight our battles for us. Leaders, we need to offer our people the hope of Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  When faced with crisis, people don’t need a pep talk.  They need a call to worship.

Leaders, let’s not settle for the hollow encouragement that sounds more like wishful thinking.  Let’s speak boldly and powerfully to our people.  The promises of God are sure.  The presence of God is steady.  The power of God knows no limits.

We all need someone to lift our eyes from the crisis to the hills.  Praise God that when we do, we see the glory of the One who fought for us on the cross and fights for us today.

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Leadership Development
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