(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia)
Alicia Britt Chole’s book, “Anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years and yours…”, references a story about a boy who eagerly desires a part in the school play. He auditions but does not get a role. Yet, to his parents’ surprise, the boy is not disheartened by the news but instead looks bright and cheery. With a smile, the young boy remarks, “I have been chosen to cheer!”
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A Joyful Cheer
What an incredible role we can have in cheering for others! Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24 gives this exhortation:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Having cut down on many of my own pursuits during motherhood, I have found myself much more aware of what others are doing. There is so much to celebrate and I am really enjoying cheering people on!
There is joy in celebrating others and encouraging them. I have benefitted greatly from others rejoicing with me and spurring me on in Christ. These have been family, friends, the wonderful nonnas at church, and even strangers at times. Their joyful encouragement to me has made me all the more passionate to give that kind of encouragement to others.
I think also about the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in the beginning of Hebrews chapter 11. As I grow older, more and more people I know are being added to that cloud and I imagine them all cheering us on as we live our lives on earth.
“Don’t give up!
Remember God’s mercy.
Don’t be afraid.
It’s never too late.”
Cheering for others is a release and sharing of the love and joy we ourselves have received from God.
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Obstacles to our Cheer
We may not always feel like cheering for others, and there are many reasons why this might be so. These are just a few of them.
Jealousy – “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs chapter 14, verse 30) Jealousy left unchecked bites down deep. Its effect is likened to rotting the bones. Rotten bones cannot hold us up and are prone to breaking. Jealousy refuses to celebrate others, and also leeches joy from our own hearts.
Self-centred busyness – We can get so caught up in the busyness of our own life that we fail to notice others around us. It is an easy trap to fall into but we have a calling, as Christians, to notice the lives of those around us so we can both celebrate and mourn with others. I often need reminding to pause, look around me, and look up to ask about the heart of God.
Emptiness – Feelings can be powerful and sometimes we may feel like we just have nothing to give. Perhaps we are suffering and can barely put together a smile for ourselves, let alone another person. Such times are a reminder that God is our strength and our well that does not run dry. It is Christ in us, and not by our own willpower, that we can cheer for others even when we ourselves lack the energy or feeling for it.
It is hard to cheer when we don’t feel like it, and when we might be suffering in our own lives. However, with God’s help we can continue to let joy overflow in our lives and share it with those around us.
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The Greatest Cheerleader
The one thing that most powerfully influences the way we cheer for others is our own security in God.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John chapter 15, verses 10-11)
Knowing that God loves us, has the best in store for us, knows the seasons of life we will walk through, and is always interceding for us, gives a confidence that absolutely shines. It gives us the ability to give freely and joyfully to others without becoming resentful or jealous, because our own lives are found secure in the love of God.
God Himself is always cheering for us, so let us take that cheer to those around us!