We all need a little encouragement to get through the difficulties of this life. The Word of the Lord contains countless gems that we can rely upon to encourage not only ourselves as we struggle through our days, but more importantly, to encourage one another. In doing so, we reflect the love of God in Christ Jesus to those in pain, to those in need of a word of consolation, encouragement and/or love. Without love and encouragement, suffering is unbearable and our lives feel meaningless.
In his letter to the fledgling Christian communities of his day, the Apostle Paul wrote extensively on the importance of encouraging one another to grow in faith, to move forward on their journey of faith, and to set aside differences and focus on the incredible gift of grace and love bestowed through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote: “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6) And “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
The church at Ephesus received this counsel: “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25)
The Hebrews received this message “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25) and “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
Paul did not leave out the Thessalonians, “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
To the Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
The Philippians received this advice, “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
It is my hope that you will take the time to ponder these verses, letting them sink deeply into your heart. They will lift you up when you are down and give you the words to lift up in love and encouragement those around you.