What does the Bible say about encouraging one another?
In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus allowed us to know that trials will happen in our life.
However, He ended with encouragement, “I have overcome the world.” God never stops encouraging His people. In the same way, we are to never stop encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, we are commanded to encourage others.
The question is, are you lovingly doing it? When we feel burned out and hopeless, encouraging words will energize our soul. Don’t neglect the power of encouragement. Also, let people know how they encouraged you, this is an encouragement to them. Let your pastor know how God spoke to you through his sermon. Pray that God makes you an encourager and pray for other believers to be encouraged.
Christian quotes about encouraging others
“Encouragement is awesome. It (can) actually change the course of another person’s day, week, or life.” Chuck Swindoll
“God creates us to thrive on the encouragement of others.”
“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
“Be an encourager the world has plenty of critics already.”
“The Christian is a person who makes it easy for others to believe in God.” Robert Murray McCheyne
“Never get tired of doing little things for others. For sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart.”
“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”
“God uses broken people like you and me to rescue broken people like you and me.”
“He (God) usually prefers to work through people rather than perform miracles, so that we will depend on each other for fellowship.” Rick Warren
Biblical definition of encouragement
Most people think that giving encouragement is just saying nice words to uplift someone. However, it’s more than this. Giving encouragement to others means to give support and confidence, but it also means to develop. As we encourage other believers we are helping them to develop a stronger relationship with Christ. We are helping them to mature in the faith. Parakaleo, which is the Greek word for encourage means to call to one’s side, admonish, encourage, teach, strengthen, and console.
Encouragement gives us hope
1. Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
2. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Let’s learn what Scripture teaches about encouraging others?
We are told to encourage others. Not only are we to be encouragers within our church and within our community groups, but we are to also be encouragers outside of the church. When we avail ourselves and look for opportunities to encourage others God will open opportunities.
The more that we get involved in God’s activity the easier that building up others become. Sometimes we are so blind to what God is doing around us. One of my favorite prayers is for God to allow me to see how He sees and allows my heart to break for the things that break His heart. As God begins to open our eyes we will notice more opportunities arising. We will notice little things that we might have been oblivious to before.
When you wake up in the morning before work, church, or before you go out ask God, “Lord how can I get involved in your activity today?” This is a prayer that God will always answer. A heart that seeks His will and the advancement of His Kingdom. This is why we should call our friends and family members more often. This is why we should introduce ourselves to people in our church. This is why we should sacrifice time to talk to the homeless and needy. You never know what someone is going through.
I’ve been blessed by believers randomly calling me. They might not have known what I was going through, but their words encouraged me as I was going through a specific situation. We have to build each other up. Maybe a believer is falling into despair and he is about to turn back to sin and it might be the Holy Spirit speaking through your words that stops Him. Don’t ever downplay the effects of encouragement in a person’s life! Encouragement is necessary on our walk with the Lord.
3. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
4. Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
8. 2 Chronicles 30:22 “Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the LORD. For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised the LORD, the God of their ancestors.”
9. Titus 2:6 “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”
10. Philemon 1:4-7 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Encouraged to be an encourager
Sometimes we go through trials so God can make an encourager and comforter out of us. He encourages us, so we can do the same to others. I’ve been through so many different trials as a believer that it’s easier for me to be an encourager than it might be for others.
Usually I can identify with someone’s situation because I’ve been in a similar situation before. I know how others feel. I know how to comfort. I know what to say and what not to say. When I have a problem in my life I’m not looking for people who haven’t been in trials. I would rather talk to someone who has been through the fire before. If God has comforted you before, then grow in doing the same for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
11. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Encouragement strengthens us
When someone gives us an encouraging word it motivates us to press on. It helps us to fight through the pain. It helps us to put on our spiritual armor to fight against Satan’s lies and discouraging words.
Discouragement brings us down and makes us weary, but encouragement gives us strength, spiritual satisfaction, joy, and peace. We learn to set our eyes on Christ. Also, encouraging words are a reminder that God is with us and He sent others to encourage us. If you are a believer, then you are part of the body of Christ. Always remember that we are God’s hands and feet.
12. 2 Corinthians 12:19 “Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves. No, we tell you this as Christ’s servants, and with God as our witness. Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you.”
13. Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Are your words characterized by grace?
Are you using your mouth to build up others or are you allowing your speech to tear down others? As believers we must be careful that are words are used to edify the body. We should guard our lips because if we are not careful we can easily turn into discouragers, gossips, and slanderers instead of encouragers and comforters.
14. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.”
15. Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”
16. Proverbs 10:32 “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked is perverse.”
17. Proverbs 12:25 “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”
The gift of encouragement
Some people are better encouragers than others. Some have the spiritual gift of exhortation. Exhorters want to see others mature in Christ. They encourage you to make godly decisions and walk in the Lord when you’re feeling discouraged.
Exhorters motivate you to apply biblical Scriptures to your life. Exhorters are eager to help you grow in the Lord. Though exhorters can correct you, they are not overly critical. When you’re going through trials you are going to want to talk to an exhorter. They allow you to see trials in the positive light. They remind you of God’s love and His sovereignty.
Being reminded and experiencing God’s love drives us to remain obedient in our trials. An exhorter will help you to praise the Lord in the storm. It’s such a blessing to walk alongside an encourager.
Barnabas is a great example of someone in the Bible with the gift of encouragement. Barnabas sold a field he owned to provide for the church. Throughout Acts we notice Barnabas encouraging and comforting believers. Barnabus even stood up for Paul to the disciples who were still skeptical of his conversion.
18. Romans 12:7-8 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
19. Acts 4:36–37 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
20. Acts 9:26-27 “When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.”
21. Acts 13:43 “When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.”
22. Deuteronomy 1:38 “Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there; encourage him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it.”
23. 2 Chronicles 35:1-2 “Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed the priests to their duties and encouraged them in the service of the Lord’s temple.”
Encouraging others in silence
We should open our mouths. However, sometimes the best encouragement is not saying anything at all. There are times in my life when I don’t want people to try to figure out my problems or how to give me encouragement. I just want you to be by my side and listen to me. Listening to someone can be one of the best gifts that you give to them.
Sometimes opening our mouths make the problem worse. For example, the situation with Job and his friends. They were doing everything right until they opened their mouths. Learn to be a good listener and encourager in silence. For example, when a friend has a loved one who dies that might not be the best time to throw around Scriptures such as Romans 8:28. Just be with that friend and console them.
24. Job 2:11-13 “When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
Our encouraging should be out of love and genuineness. It should not be done out of self-interest nor out of flattery. We should desire the best for others. When we are lackadaisical in our love, our encouragement becomes half-hearted. Encouraging others should not feel like a burden. If it does, we must set our hearts back on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
25. Romans 12:9-10 “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”