“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
We could all use a little encouragement sometimes, right? It’s so easy to become weighed down with the stressors of life. Maybe you find yourself on the precipice of discouragement because of a prognosis from the doctor. Perhaps you haven’t hit the benchmarks at your job you were hoping to achieve, or you feel like you’re not getting through to your kids. The local or world news is heavy on your heart. You are waiting on an answer from the Lord to a very specific prayer, and have yet to hear anything.
It could be all of these things, or none of them. Whatever the scenario, we’ve all experienced a moment (or several) of feeling discouraged or disheartened. It can be overwhelming and a bit lonely, too.
When Paul wrote a letter to believers in Thessalonica, he urged them to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” It’s interesting that Paul makes a point to tell them to do something they are already doing. Seems a bit redundant or obvious at first. But when we dive deeper, we learn that Paul is encouraging as well as instructing them.
For the believers in Thessalonica, Paul was cheering them on. He was recognizing the good that they were doing in their community and prompting them to continue to do the same. The word encourage means to give support, confidence, or hope to someone. And the Bible is filled with examples of supporting, bringing confidence, or hope. Here are just a few examples from the Word.
To support someone (or something) is to hold them up or assist in keeping them upright.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24 NLT
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”
Proverbs 12:25 NLT
The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.”
Psalms 33:4-5 NLT
A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”
Ephesians 1:18 NLT
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 NLT
This scripture may have been addressed to a community of believers, but it can be applied to our individual circumstances as well. We can go to the Bible for encouragement, we can look to those in our community, and we can also spread this to others. There are so many ways to bring hope, confidence or support to someone in your life. Prayer is one example. Be gracious in your interactions. Try to see things from their perspective. Share scriptures with them.
These are a few scriptures that could be helpful as you encourage one another (and yourself, too).
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.””
Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.””
John 16:33 NLT
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 NLT
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT
“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Romans 8:29-32, 35, 37 NLT
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 NLT
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.”
1 John 5:14 NLT
Be encouraged – God sees you. He hears you. He knows exactly where you are. And He cares deeply for you.