Devotional of the day
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.Romans 16:1-2
Encouraging words often make the difference between success and failure. For example, imagine that your spouse expresses the desire to lose weight. How you respond can be either encouraging or discouraging. If you say, “Well, I hope you don’t try one of those expensive weight-loss programs or join a pricey gym. We can’t afford that,” then you have discouraged your spouse. Chances are, he or she will drop the idea and make no effort to lose weight.
On the other hand, consider this response: “Well, one thing I know. If you decide to lose weight, you will, because you have the discipline to do it. That’s one of the things I admire about you.” Wow! Your spouse is encouraged and will likely take action immediately.
At the end of the book of Romans, Paul writes a number of personal greetings, many of them including affirmations. In the verses above, he mentions a woman named Phoebe, who is “worthy of honor” and “helpful.” Later in the chapter, he mentions several others by name and lists their contribution to his work. Imagine being praised in Paul’s letter! The specifics he included give impact to his encouraging words.
When you have a chance to respond to your spouse, think before you speak. Ask yourself, What can I say that would affirm and encourage my spouse to reach his or her goals? Most of us are motivated when we hear encouraging words.
Lord Jesus, I pray that you would help me to think before I respond to my spouse. Show me how best to be an encouragement. I don’t want to stand in the way of my loved one’s goals, so please help me develop a pattern of encouragement and specific affirmation. I know that will strengthen our relationship.