“That through endurance and the encouragement we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NIV.
Encouragers find themselves being encouraged.
My thoughts and comments today are, “be encouraged.”
Life can be wearing and wearying. Weariness and discouragement accumulate like emotional dust, layer upon layer until its load gradually becomes more than you can bear alone. Everyone needs encouragement in daily doses. You and I live in a world that is often discouraging, among people who are easily discouraged themselves, therefore discouraging to others. Sometimes, life might be described in these words, “They said, ‘Cheer up. Things could be worse.” And sure enough, I cheered up . . and things got worse.” Sometimes it feels like that. Both discouragement and encouragement are emotions, but so much more; those emotions generate critical assumptions about circumstances that will gradually impact your expectations, either negatively or positively. Before you get discouraged reading all this, let me share about encouragement.
David provides a Godly example of how to be encouraged in discouraging situations, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved . .” Read 1 Samuel 30:6-19 KJV. In their pain, David’s soldiers blamed him for something an enemy had done, a tragedy he could not have anticipated nor could prevent. Does that scenario sound familiar? Here’s where the narrative and outcome changes, “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” When all around you is disheartening, look to the God who is for you, with you, and in you. David sought the Lord and was told to pursue the enemy, “And David recovered all.” Encouragement restores your body, soul, and spirit.
Encouragement provides spiritual intervention and reversal of everything the devil intended for your harm and loss – joy, confidence, hope, trust, peace, or positive expectations. Encouragement is a common theme and recurring accent throughout the Bible. Paul encouraged Christ-followers, “Therefore, we do not lose heart . . for our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they will produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever.” Read 2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV/NLT. You can turn your disappointments into divine appointments.
“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.” Read Romans 15:4-7 NIV. Read those words again, carefully and slowly. Notice in this verse that Christ-followers are promised three things:
(1) “Hope,” which the Bible describes as an anchor of the soul, “both sure and steadfast.” Read Hebrews 7:17-19. See Romans 15:13.
(2) “Encouragement,” which results from Godly focus, stubborn trust, enriching thoughts, and edifying companions. See Hebrews 10:24-25/1 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV.
And, (3) “Endurance,” which is a joyful and steadfast expectation while you wait. See Colossians 1:10-14 NIV. Looking for a way to endure is better than looking for a way to escape.
When you are hopeful, you are encouraged; when you feel encouraged, you are strengthened to endure. Notice the progression: hope provides encouragement; encouragement promotes endurance; and the source of all of these is found in, “the Scriptures.” “Stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 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 2:15-17 NIV. See also 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
If you are discouraged, you’re looking in the wrong places and listening to the wrong voices; look to Jesus and be encouraged. And be an encourager; someone you know needs encouraging more than you. Jesus promised, “Give and it will be given you . . good measure, running over.” Luke 6:38. Encouragers find themselves being encouraged. If finding life hard to endure, or encouragement lacking, strengthen yourself in the enduring, encouraging truth of God’s Word. In several situations these recent days, I have felt the Lord impress upon my heart two simple words, “Be encouraged.” I share His words with you today. Whatever the situation, be encouraged.
Today, my prayer for you is that you are encouraged and become an encourager to others.