|Sometimes we might get worn down such that we could use a little encouragement to keep us going. As Isaiah 35:3 says, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.” But it is not just those who have been exhausted who need encouragement, but encouragement should be a regular part of life among believers. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” There is not a day that goes by that we couldn’t benefit from some encouragement or that we should be lacking in giving some encouragement to others. Encouraging one another matters because it keeps us from being deceived into sinning. When we get exhausted and in a weakened, worn down state, it is easy to give into sin and stop resisting the devil’s temptation. When we are tired, sometimes we decide that we don’t care anymore, and our sensitivity to wrongdoing lessens. Encouragement keeps our focus right. It lets us know that we are not alone but that others are supportive of us, praying for us, and caring for us. We need to be active in encouraging one another so that we can keep motivating one another toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25).
The Bible gives us some very practical ways that we can encourage others.
1. We can encourage one another through the giving of gifts. Ezra 1:6 says, “All those about them encouraged them with articles of silver, with gold, with goods, with cattle and with valuables, aside from all that was given as a freewill offering.” A group from Judah went up to rebuild the house of God, and God moved in the hearts of those around them to give to them generously so that they could have an abundance of materials and goods for their journey and for their project. The gifts were a tangible expression of their support, and this was highly encouraging to the laborers.
2. We can encourage one another through words kindly spoken. Isaiah 41:7 says, “So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, ‘It is good’; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter.” This Scripture paints a very simple picture of two people working together, and one says to the other that he is doing a good job. A simple compliment on the quality of one’s work goes a long way, and it is a simple yet powerful way to encourage one another.
3. We can encourage one another through an exhortation to be faithful. Acts 11:23 says, “Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.” Simply encouraging others to keep on keeping on in the Lord can be more of a help than we might think.
4. We can encourage one another through written words. Acts 15:31 says, “When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.” In this case, the congregation was gathered to hear a letter from the apostles, and they were encouraged by it. A simple note expressing thanks, appreciation, or a promise of help can go a long way. These believers saw that the apostles cared about them, and that was very encouraging to them.
5. We can encourage one another through the preaching of the Word. Acts 15:32 says, “Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.” It can be refreshing to hear a lengthy exposition of the Word of God and to be ministered to by taking in a great quantity of sound Bible teaching. Sharing a good sermon with somebody or sitting under a great Bible teacher can be a refreshing experience as our soul gets to feast upon God’s Word.
6. We can be encouraged by the faith and faithfulness of other believers. Romans 1:12 says, “That is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.” Just being around other believers who really love the Lord can really bolster our faith. It is highly refreshing to hear testimonies of how God is at work in the lives of others or how they came to know Christ. Faith and faithfulness can be contagious.
7. We can be encouraged by regularly being in the Scriptures. Romans 15:4 says, “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.” God has given us His Word so that we can keep being reminded of just God has worked throughout history, how faithful He is, and how much hope we should have. Being in the Scriptures and meditating upon them is a huge part of staying encouraged in our walks.
8. We can be encouraged by others who labor with us for the sake of the gospel. Colossians 4:11 says, “And also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.” Doing ministry is tough, and to have other faithful believers working alongside of us is a huge means of support. Paul rarely traveled alone on his missionary journeys, choosing rather to enjoy the encouragement of faithful brothers in Christ.
God’s call to us is that we encourage one another regularly so that we don’t slough off and fall into sin because we have lost heart and lost focus. Even when others fail to encourage us or are unavailable to encourage us, God and His Word are available and sufficient to encourage us. Let us take care that we stay in the Word to be encouraged ourselves so that we can be an encouragement to others. We never know when even a small gesture of encouragement might make a very significant difference.
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