Summary: God has called us to encourage others daily.
I AM CREATED TO ENCOURAGE
The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) 11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” As we continue to learn about our new nature in Christ, the need to crucify self to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives becomes much clearer. We are created in this new nature to serve, to praise, and also to encourage. To encourage means to inspire with hope, courage, and to spur on.
Biblical hope is more than a “worldly” hope where we simply long for our dreams to come true. Biblical hope is founded in what God has done and in the certainty that God will fulfill His promises in the future. Christians place their hope in Christ alone and His promise to someday bring them into heaven. Paul said in Acts 23:6 (NIV) 6 I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." This kind of hope is encouraging to us and gives us confidence and boldness knowing that one day God will either call us home to be with Him or Christ will return for us. In 2 Corinthians Paul is speaking about the Spirit of God being in us and he says in 2 Corinthians 3:12 (NIV) 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
Courage is mental and moral strength to endure; to be very bold and confident. Courage is sometimes translated as confidence in Scripture. In Hebrews 3:6 (NIV) 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. The same Greek Word is in Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence (or courage), so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
To spur means to stimulate strongly. The book of Hebrews speaks about spurring one another in Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. The word "spur" gives us a visual picture of a rider spurring his horse to get it going. We are to strongly stimulate each other toward love and good deeds according to God' Word.
Biblical encouragement is more than just saying kind words to one another. We are to be continually instilling courage in others to accomplish one specific goal. The goal is to be like Christ. Our task is to encourage people as they grow stronger and mature in Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says that we are to lay our lives down to "encourage and build each other up." It is our mission to see that everyone succeeds in their relationship with Christ.
As we mature in our praise to God, we must also grow in our encouragement of others. Both of these areas are rooted in Scripture. We encourage one another by speaking the very words of God. Our flesh finds faults with others, but our Spirit encourages them.
We are not only told in the Scriptures to encourage one another, but we are told in Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We need to focus on filling each other with courage, hope, and confidence daily; faithfully keeping our eyes on Jesus and His return!
WHERE DO WE GET OUR ENCOURAGEMENT FROM?
1. From God
We get our courage directly from God. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV) 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Psalm 10:17 (NIV)17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.
When the apostle Paul was in prison, the Jews, in Jerusalem, stirred up a riot to try and have him killed. But during the night, Paul encountered a visitor who encouraged him. It says in Acts 23:11 (NIV) 11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome." When we are walking with God and following his ways, we get our encouragement directly from the Lord!
2. From God’s Word
God’s Word is what increases our faith and inspires courage within us. Studying the Old Testament gives us confidence in the future. Knowing about God’s deliverance and miraculous powers from stories throughout the Bible, gives us confidence that He will also raise us from the dead. In Romans 15:4 (NIV) 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.