Share Your Experiences
by Rick Warren
“Encourage one another and help one another.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 TEV)
The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage one another and help one another” (TEV). You are to build up, motivate, and inspire other people. How do you do that? You can do it three ways: You can give people hope, you can help people overcome their fears, and you can help people break down barriers.
First, you need to give people hope. You show that you’ve been through the same thing, and you reassure them that they’ll be able to get through it, too. You show through your story that it can be done.
When you share your experiences with other people, you help take away their fears. It’s kind of like riding a roller coaster. When you go to Six Flags and you’ve never been on one of those huge roller coasters, you’re kind of thinking, “Is this a smart decision?” Then, the person in front of you turns around and says, “This is a great ride. I’ve been on it five times.” So you’re thinking, “OK, I’m going to live. They’ve done it five times. It’s got to be OK.” Having someone share with you who’s already gone through it is an inspiration. It’s motivational.
How many first-time mothers feel scared to death, unprepared, and inadequate? All of them! How grateful they are for somebody who comes along and says, “Babies cry. It’s OK. It’s OK to let them cry. This is normal.” The fears that they’re experiencing don’t seem so daunting when others share with them their experiences and how they came through them. It gives them hope!
You also help people break through barriers when you motivate them with your own experience. Roger Bannister was the first guy to run a four-minute mile. At the time, everybody said it was an impossible barrier. Yet within about a year after Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, a dozen other guys had done it. All of a sudden, people realized it wasn’t impossible, and it gave them hope that they could do it, too.
You have experiences in your life that could be barrier busting, inspirational, and motivational to other people — if you’re willing to share them. The most powerful way to say anything is the most personal way to say it.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:6, “For your sake, my friends, I have applied all this to Apollos and me, using the two of us as an example, so that you may learn.”
Whenever I teach a series on marriage, I always go back and talk about the marriage problems Kay and I have had. Why? Because it has the credibility of reality and people can go, “They don’t have a perfect marriage, and we don’t, either. But they’ve lasted nearly 40 years. Maybe we can, too.” Perfection never helps anybody — except when it’s Jesus.
Talk It Over
- What are the painful or difficult experiences from your past that could help others learn and give them hope?
- What are the avenues or mediums you could use to share your experiences? How can you pray for God to give you opportunities to share?
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Rick Warren has helped people live with hope and on purpose for more than 40 years. He’s the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California and author of several books, including “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life,” read by more than 100 million people in 137 languages.
This devotional ©2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.