The Bible uses the word “encourage”, “encouraged”, “encouragement” and “encourages” in many places. The Holman Christian Standard Bible uses “encourage” 21 times, “encouraged” 21 times, “encouragement” 12 times, and “encourages” 1 time. Strong’s Lexicon’s Hebrew word for “encourage” is chazaq (khaw-zak’), the Greek is paramutheomai (par-am-oo-theh’-om-ahee) and protrepomai (prot-rep’-om-ahee). Both mean to comfort or exhort.
If you take the time to do a word search in places like Crosswalk.com and find all the verses that contain any of the above words, you will see God’s character shining through.
In almost every instance, we see that God seeks to encourage His people as He wants us to be like Him and to encourage one another in His ways. (1Thess. 4:18; 5:11) In these last days of Apostasy where everyone seems to be doing what is right in his own eyes (Jud. 17:6; 2Tim 3:1) , we need to seek ways in which we can encourage one another as God encourages us. It is our responsibility to foster the well-being of each other as fellow believers. What are some ways we can do this?
Exhort to walk close to Jesus and remain committed to Him in faith. (Rom. 15:4) It is through our endurance and encouragement of the scriptures that we have hope. Endurance means perseverance, and we persevere because of the encouragement of the Scriptures. We can only have encouragement of the Scriptures when we “feed” on them daily and absorb their many spiritual “nutrients”. That is foundational to our Christian faith and in knowing who God is.
Build and strengthen. (2Thess. 2:17 ) Encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. We gain strength when we pursue biblical Truth in our daily activities and interactions with others. We give strength when we encourage others to stay focused on the Lord and not veer off course where we’ll be derailed by the trappings of the world.
Motivate others to be their best. (Phil. 4:8) Pursuing moral excellence through character building. Become more like Jesus. We should make it our objective to strive for excellence in everything we do, and stay away from mediocrity or lukewarmness. Likewise, we give the same support to those around us and make them feel worthy of God’s love by motivations we give them.
Comfort the hurting/weak/sick. (1Thess. 5:14 ) If we see anyone who is struggling in their Christian walk, instead of judging, we need to help them in their weakness so they’ll make better choices. Sometimes folks go through very hard times and have many personal struggles. It can happen to any of us! So when we see someone “down on their luck”, try to be of service and help in meeting their needs. It’ll make us stronger in the process!
Heal the brokenhearted. (Luke 4:18) Jesus stated publicly that it was His mission to bind up wounds and heal the brokenhearted. He ultimately did that on the Cross. There were many brokenhearted people who were lost and needed the Gospel and a Savior, which He preached to them during His earthly ministry. We need to remind ourselves and other people that we are no different and to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. In Him we have that healing and cleansing.
Hope for a hopeless world. (Rom. 5:1-5) We can rejoice to having obtained peace with God by accepting His Son as our personal Savior. We now have a real hope of eternal life and know with certainty that Jesus will bring us to Heaven. That is also our Blessed Hope, that we make it an event we look forward to and to obey His command to WATCH for Him and be ready. (Mark 13:33 ; Matt. 25:13; Matt. 26:41; Matt. 24:43). Watching for me is an encouragement as I see current events unfold and know how they are lining up with references about the end times. (2 Tim. 3:1; 1Thess. 5; Luke 21:28 -32; Matt. 24; Dan. 12; 2 Pet. 3:3).
Resting in the Promises given to us in Scripture. (2Pet. 1:4; Jer. 29:11) These are referred to in Peter as “great and precious promises”, and they certainly are! In my mind, there can’t be anything better than to “share in the devine nature” which we will be given. I’m looking forward to it as I get older! That is real encouragement to me, to be finally free of limitation and sin when I’m transformed into a glorious being.
Encouragement is a buffer against Satan. He would like nothing better than to tear us down, make us feel impotent, like we don’t belong, that we’re not really saved, motivate us to make wrong choices or take our eyes off Jesus. Let’s be wary of him! He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1Pet. 5:8) Although he is an accuser of the brethren, (Rev. 12:10), his days are numbered and he has already been defeated on the Cross (1Cor. 15:51 -57). God has therefore equipped us in every way to live victorious in Him when we wholly depend upon the Holy Spirit which resides within us. Let’s keep that in mind as we go about our job of being spiritual soldiers.
- By Lynette Schaefer