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Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor
Have you ever been a cheerleader? Most of us have been in one form or another, whether we’ll admit to it or not. We might not have worn the little outfits, shook the pom poms, or did somersaults. Yet we’ve all probably done the most important function of a cheerleader – to be FOR someone or something. Not just with or by or alongside, but FOR someone. Fully invested in his success, dedicated to her improvement, and excitedly looking forward to his or her victory, as if it were our own.
When we are cheerleaders, we take another’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations as our own. Whatever she is hoping, longing, or striving for – be it a victory in winning a game or award, losing weight or bad habits, gaining recognition or renewal- that is what we are cheering for as if it were our goal. We are committed to whatever is needed for growth for him to move another step towards in victory. Not just doing the wave or screaming until I’m hoarse, but investing in prayer, tangible helps, encouragement, and extending grace and compassion to him as he is going forward, one step at a time. (even and especially when the steps might look like baby steps to me)
For when I am truly her cheerleader, her victory is also my victory – whatever victory might look like to her (whether or not it’s what I might see as victory or not). Because it’s her victory, not mine that will truly bring joy to her and thus, to me, if I am imitating Jesus in the doing by loving her like myself (see Mark 12:33). And there in loving her, she moves from being a neighbor to being family.
Scripture tells us that God sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:6). Thus, since God is without limit, then He is not limited by genes, age, distance, education, socioeconomics, or any other criteria when He forms families. He puts specific individuals where He wants them when He wants them there. And He does this with purpose – His glory and the good of His people. We can see this in the lineage of Christ in Matthew chapter 1 with its kaleidoscope of peoples ranging from royalty to red-sash women, shepherds to scholars, and priests to prostitutes. All carefully chosen; all carefully placed.
The same thing happens today. We aren’t just shaken up in the sands of time to let fall through the hourglass in randomness. We are set in place for the good works also set in place before us to do (see Ephesians 2:10). And one of the best works we can do now is to be a cheerleader for someone(s) in our lives. To be the Barnabas (“son of encouragement”) he’s never known before. To be the Dorcas she depends on daily. To be the Jesus he and she can’t live without, for today and for forever.
To be someone’s cheerleader. That sister who listens, prays, and asks questions that brings wisdom and answers. That brother who shows up to help, comfort, and bring peace that stays long after he’s left. Such helps aren’t confined to sharing or receiving words, but move with the words into tangible helps that might make a small difference that’s actually huge to the one receiving it. There is visible love in the act – be it a bringing a meal or mattress, picking up groceries or giving a ride, vacuuming or voicing a fear that really isn’t, listening to the same story or looking at the same pictures over and again, sending a card or seeking out their favorite snack, and many other such good gifts. And this visible love binds the lonely closer in to their (new or not) family just like God intended. And that’s the kind of cheerleader who truly helps spur someone on to a victory for a lifetime, one 24-hour segment at a time.
I am so grateful for the cheerleaders God has placed in my life. They bring strength as they share His joy with me in the victory of reading a blog post (and liking or sharing it, along with following the blog). They bring courage as they ask “when can I order your books?”. They share compassion when they send a text, email, card, or drop off a meal or groceries. And every time, they do, they love and help me to love our God and others more too.
And that’s the kind of cheerleader I want to be.
Every. Single. Day.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works
Idea to consider:
Take a minute or two to think about someone in your world (work, neighborhood, school, church, family) who could really use a cheerleader today. Write their initials and the date on a piece of paper with your signature. Place this paper in a place you see often (desk, refrigerator, mirror, car steering wheel, purse) to remind you to pray for him or her. Then as you’re praying for this person, ask God for a way you can encourage this person today in a way that will speak deeply to this person. Don’t be self-conscious in doing whatever God puts on your heart or mind to do. This specific act could be the very thing this person has been longing for but hasn’t had the courage to ask or seek for herself.
Dear Father God,
Thank You that You set the lonely in families. Thank You that Your ways are always best. Thank You that You give me opportunity to help others. Please give me the compassion and courage to speak and serve others in ways that exhibit Your great love for them. Please increase my love for others as You increase my love for You today.
In the strong Name of Jesus,
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021.
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