Definition: That which inspires courage, confidence, hope, renewed strength of heart and soul; moral support.
1. The positive effects of encouragement:
Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
Proverbs 15:23b A word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
2 Chronicles 15:8a When [King] Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage.
1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. [See also John 15:11]
2. Encourage others by just being there when others need us.
Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Proverbs 18:24b There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
3. Share words of comfort, love and appreciation with those who are feeling low.
Job 4:4 [Eliphaz tells Job:] Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
Isaiah 35:3,4a Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [See also 5:11]
4. Forgive and reassure those who’ve made mistakes.
2 Corinthians 2:7,8 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him [who’d committed a serious wrong, but was sorry for it], and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
Lamentations 3:31-32 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
5. Assist those who are burdened with troubles or a heavy load.
Romans 15:1,2 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:14b Comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
6. Remembering times when God gave us victories over our discouragement motivates us to want to encourage others.
2 Corinthians 1:4-7 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
7. Talk about Jesus and what He’s done for you, and can do for others!
2 Chronicles 32:6-8,21 [Hezekiah, king of Judah, encouraged his people to trust in the Lord when an evil king laid siege to their country:] And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, 7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah…. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria.
Psalm 66:16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.
Psalm 78:2-7 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments. [See also Psalm 145:1,4,7,11]
Psalm 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psalm 69:30-32 I will praise the Name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. … 32 The humble shall see this, and be glad.
Psalm 119:74 They that fear Thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in Thy Word.
Isaiah 63:7 I will mention the lovingkindnesss of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesss.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
8. Encourage yourself by thinking positive thoughts.
[See Positiveness/Negative Thinking, #5 and #11]
9. United prayer and fellowship is a source of renewed encouragement.
Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Acts 4:23-33 [Returning from severe persecution, Peter and John pray a courageous prayer together with the disciples:] 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. … 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Romans 1:11,12 For I long to see you … 12 That I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Colossians 2:2a [Paul wanted the Colossians to know how much he battled in Spirit for them] that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love. …
10. The Lord and His Word is our greatest source of encouragement.
Isaiah 41:13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 145:14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life.
Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?
Colossians 3:16 Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 [Hearing about the return of Jesus is a great encouragement:] For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these Words.
11. Encouragement is a two-way street: When we encourage others, we ourselves are encouraged.
1 Samuel 30:1-19 [When King David’s small militia suffered loss of their home town to an enemy attack and his own disheartened troops considered stoning him to death, he prayed and “encouraged himself in the Lord.” And when he told his men that God had promised to recover their families and homes, they took courage and went into battle with him, recovering all in magnanimous victory. As David encouraged his men, the Lord also encouraged him, leading them together into triumph]
Isaiah 58:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
Proverbs 11:25 The liberal [generous] soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. [See also Acts 20:35]
2 Corinthians 9:6b But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
12. The ability to encourage others is a gift from God, which He gives to you for the asking.
Isaiah 50:4 The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 14:3,12,31 [The Lord sometimes uses the gift of prophecy to encourage His children] But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. … 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the Church. … 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort [encourage] one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.