Standing on the sidelines has always come across to me with a negative connotation. You are not participating in whatever is happening on the playing field. You are an onlooker merely watching events unfold before your eyes.
My husband, brother in laws and friends recently participated in their first half marathon and I had the opportunity to be on the sidelines watching. Watching others running to the finish line. Watching as the runners heard the applause and encouragement from their loved ones on the sidelines. Claps and praises. And how their faces were instantly filled with smiles and appreciation and motivation to keep going.
So often we watch others as they achieve their goals and instead of encouraging, we try to tear them down - half heartily believing they can achieve the goal and in our hardest of hearts, even hope they fail.
Paul tells us in first Thessalonians to encourage one another and build each other up (5:11). To cheer each other on from the sidelines, building each other closer to God through words of encouragement.
It's about being the encourager in your marriage to your spouse. It's encouraging your children and friends and coworkers and pastors and baristas and gym buddies. It's witnessing what God is doing in their life by pointing it out and continuing to give God praises for working through them and pushing them closer to him because of it all.
It is encouraging each other in our faith daily from the minute to the grandiose things. From praying for each other to texting verses that God puts on your heart. From writing a simple note to a phone call. It is reflecting Jesus and listening to the truth of the Holy Spirit, who is constantly cheering us on for God's glory until we make it to Glory.
Praying that your words would give life to others as they run the race with perseverance. That your words would keep those around you running to the things of God. Praying that you would be the encourager that others need, always building up.
Praying that as you run the race that God would provide those around you to be the encourager that you need to keep pressing on and fulfilling the callings he has so intricately made you for. Praying that you would run with perseverance and when you find yourself on the sidelines that you would encourage those around you. That you would strengthen one another and be in unity.
Here's to sidelines and cheers and building up.