There are at least three types of relationships we need to have in our lives. If you don’t have these, you need to make them. The first one is where I’m the encourager. There are certain people in my life that need encouragement when they call or want to meet. Then there are the people who encourage me when I need it. Finally, the most important one is the one where you mutually encourage each other. These relationships are symbiotic and benefit both parties involved. It’s important that you identify who fit into these categories in your life. We all need to both encourage others and to be encouraged.
David and Jonathan had the symbiotic type relationship. They loved each other dearly, looked out for each other and encouraged one another. They learned to put the other’s needs ahead of their own, thereby bringing value to each other. In 1 Samuel 23, Jonathan’s father Saul was chasing David to kill him. Saul wanted Jonathan to succeed him as king, nut Jonathan valued David more than the position. In verse 16 it says, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God” (NLT). They then renewed their pact of encouragement to each other and Jonathan went home.
Who is that person in your life? Who is the one who comes running in your time of need? Who is it that when you both walk away from conversations you feel better? Chances are the two of you are intentional about your conversations and meetings. In Romans 1:12, Paul was looking forward to going to Rome to meet with the believers. He wrote, “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Encouragement is born from intentionality. It doesn’t just happen. Be praying that you would be an encourager, that there would be someone in your life who encourages you and most importantly that you would find a person to share symbiotic encouragement with.