2 Thessalonians 1:4 “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:”
Whether or not we like it, people receive encouragement from people. We cannot see God, but we can see people who are serving God. Sometimes, the only picture that others see of God is our life. It is critical that the picture we paint for those is clear. I know people should keep their eyes on God, but those who don’t live a life of faith only keep their eyes on those who have the faith to keep their eyes on God. What you do with your life determines whether you are an encouragement to someone or are discouraging their desire to serve the LORD.
Paul tells the churches in Thessalonica he gloried in them. What he was saying was that these churches were an encouragement to him. It was not what they did in the good times that encouraged him, but how they served God in the bad times that encouraged him. People are not encouraged by what we do when times are easy, but they are encouraged by how we continue in the hard times. If you want to be an encouragement to others, there are five things Paul points out that encourages others.
First, your faith growing exceedingly encourages others. It was not just that their faith grew, but that it grew exceedingly. A faith that groweth exceedingly always catches the attention of others because it is so rare to see someone’s faith grow so fast. Now, a faith that grows exceedingly will result in miraculous works. Jesus said that he saw the faith of different people he healed because of their works, which means that others will only see that your faith groweth exceedingly because of the results of your faith. Your faith can encourage others if you don't put limits on faith.
Second, your charity for others encourages others. Charity is invested love. In other words, investing your life in others through ministry encourages others. There is nothing encouraging about a self-centered life, but there is great encouragement when you see someone invest their life in others through the bus ministry, soul winning, and faithfulness to serve the LORD with all of your life.
Third, your patience encourages others. The fact that you are patient with others as they grow encourages them. This gives them hope that you have not given up on them. It doesn't matter that they are not doing anything for the LORD; it is the fact that you are patient with people that one day they will serve the LORD that encourages them.
Fourth, keeping the faith in difficult times encourages others. It is easy to keep the faith when everything is going easy, but the test of what you believe is continuing to believe and do what you have always done when times get hard. You will impact more for what you believe and practice by continuing in the hard times than you ever will in times of ease. People see that you are real when you don't quit in trials or hardships what you said you believed when on the topside of life.
Fifth, enduring encourages others. Nobody said it would be easy to endure whatever you are facing, but there is something about watching people continue despite hardships that causes them to want to cheer for you. You can encourage others if you will simply continue to take one more step despite the pain and difficulty it takes to take that step.