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Encouraging Courage

June 29th, 2012

“Everyone helped his neighbor, and said . . ‘Be of good courage.’” Isaiah 41:6 NKJV

Courage correctly assesses the risk, knows the cost, and acts boldly in a worthy manner.

My thoughts and comments today are about “encouraging courage.”

Everyone needs encouragement, some more than others. Encouragement is very much prevalent in the Old and New Testament; encouragement is a lifestyle of inspiring the best in others by word or example. Among the Jerusalem believers, one man became so consistently known for his inspiring example to others that his name was changed from Joseph, his given name, to Barnabas, “son of encouragement.” See Acts 4:36-37 NIV. Is your reputation that of being an encourager of others?

Isaiah describes a time when, “Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, ‘Be of good courage.’” See Isaiah 41:6-7 NKJV. If you examine the surrounding context, people were encouraging one another in not so edifying ways. Together, they were building an idol. But positively or negatively, the principle is true whatever the task in which you are encouraged. You work harder and happier when encouraged to do so.

As you read this, someone’s name may have come to mind who has been a strength of encouragement to you? Make an effort today to write or call to let them know their kindness helped you be strong. Better yet, who have you encouraged recently? It is the most practical thing you can do for someone, the easiest of things to do, and the most helpful, beneficial gift you can give another. What have you said or done that made a difference in what someone else was doing?

In six years of writing EveryDay Life, there have been occasions when the daily investment of time and discipline has tempted me to think, “It’s enough.” Invariably, that very day would bring a message from some reader encouraging me to keep writing, sharing how God used a thought or comment to brighten their day, to give them hope. You have often encouraged me.

At the center of the word is the concept of courage. Courage correctly assesses the risk, knows the cost, and then acts boldly in a worthy manner. Doing that involves encouragers. Encouragement is not reserved for large things or public times; it must become your custom in everyday matters. “Rise up . . take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4 NIV. Courage is an action you take before it becomes an emotion you feel. I think courage is a skill learned, and I think it most occurs through meaningful interaction with God and others. “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:17 NIV.

This practice is dear to God’s heart because encouragement is so much a part of His nature. “Through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement . . as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:4-6 NIV. Let’s be more like Him.

My prayer for you today is: be encouraged in the Lord and by the company of others.

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