In Charles Swindoll’s book Hand Me Another Brick, he delineates lessons on leadership based on the story of Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the temple. In it, while recounting how the Israelites became discouraged along the way, Swindoll writes about how discouragement can often “become the catalyst for incredible achievements” because it is often “a barrier that Satan erects between great people and great achievements.” In other words, Satan desires for us to lose heart before we can accomplish the things that God has set before us, and he uses the tool of discouragement to accomplish just that.
If we accept Swindoll’s position (and there seems to be a lot of evidence to support it), than it puts renewed meaning on the command in Scripture that part of our responsibilities as Christians is to encourage other Christians. It’s easy to think of encouragement as just a nice way to make someone else feel better. But our exhortations can do so much more than that. Our encouragement to other believers could be that which prompts them to keep on even after they’ve lost heart. Our encouragement can be that which motivates them to accomplish the great things that God desires for their lives. Let us, therefore, not think of encouragement as something nice, but as something sacred.
Charles Spurgeon, a preacher used by God mightily in his day and whose words still impact hearts for Christ, wrote “Before any great achievement, some measure of the same depression is very usual…..This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry.” Knowing that God may use our words to enrich the ministry of another and further advance His kingdom, may we commit anew not to lose heart, and to encourage each other “all the more” as we “see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25)