‘encourage one another and build each other up’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
I was reflecting recently on how all of us need encouragement. Whether we are a child taking our first steps, a student taking exams, or we are holding down a busy and demanding job, we all benefit from being encouraged.
That reflection led me to see just how widely encouragement is urged and reported in Scripture.
Here are some examples I came across:
- God to Moses –
‘Encourage [Joshua], because he will lead Israel’ (Deuteronomy 1:38);
- Soldiers in battle –
‘the Israelites encouraged one another’ (Judges 20:22);
- Joab to Saul before a battle –
‘go out and encourage your men’ (2 Samuel 19:7);
- Josiah to the priests –
‘He appointed the priests to their duties and encouraged them in the service of the LORD’s temple.’ (2 Chronicles 35:2);
- Paul and Silas to the church –
‘they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them.’ (Acts 16:40);
- Paul to the disciples –
‘Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them…’ (Acts 20:1).
As well as specific examples of encouragement the Bible also provides general exhortations to encourage.
‘But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.’ (Job 16:5);
‘But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.’ (Hebrews 3:13).
As you read through these verses it is clear that the Scripture calls on us to encourage one another.
Even Jesus needed and received encouragement. Following his baptism,
‘a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”’ (Matthew 3:17), and when he faced the agony of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane,
‘An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.’ (Luke 22:43).
If Jesus needed encouragement how much more do we need it?
Is there someone in your life at this moment who could do with an encouraging word, an uplifting card or a strengthening message of reassurance?
Can we take the time to
‘encourage one another and build each other up?’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Paul concludes that verse by saying,
‘just as in fact you are doing’. Could he say that about us?
Let me encourage you to encourage one another; it might just make someone’s day.
Father, thank you for your encouragement to me through your Scriptures. As I am encouraged, strengthened and built up, may I be an encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Have a good week encouraging one another.