Matt Adams shines a much needed (and encouraging) light on what really happens when we encourage others.
A word has popped up several times in our study recently, and several more on my timelines, often referring to people with whom I am studying the whole Word of God. That word is “encourage,” but often shows up as “encouraged,” “encourager,” “encouragement,” or “encourages.” We use it, especially when someone gives us a pat on the back, or tells us what a good job we did. What we’re saying is, “That made me feel good!” However, that’s not what we see the apostles doing when this word is used, and it’s not ONLY what we should be doing when we encourage our brothers and sisters.
The prefix “en” – “E” “N” can mean “in or within;” as in the case of “encase or enclose.” It can mean “to wrap with or cover” as in “enrobe.” It can mean to “make into or cause to be” When we en-courage someone, we are wrapping them with courage. We are helping them to be found WITHIN courage. We are helping them to become courage. It’s so much more than a feel-good phrase. When we encourage, we are giving our brothers and sisters strength, courage to fight the next battle. When we encourage our brothers and sisters, we are helping them face their next test, stand their next trial, push past their next obstacle with courage. When we encourage our brothers and sisters, we assure them that they are not alone, that we and God in heaven are beside them in the moment. When we encourage our brothers and sisters, we help them to stand firm on the Word, to walk boldly behind enemy lines, and to proclaim the Word of God with their lips and their lives!
So let me encourage you! The Father sees you in this moment. He knows your struggle! He knows the battle you’re facing! He knows your circumstances and HE IS NOT CONCERNED. This God that sees the end from the beginning has called you by name into fellowship with Him. He has numbered the hairs on your head. He has captured every tear. He has stood by you through every fire. And He. Is. Still. There. Don’t let the waves distract you. Don’t let the desert turn you around. Don’t let the wind make you afraid. When Pharaoh’s army is in pursuit, run TO the Father and be encouraged. When life has you bound in shackles and chains of busyness and worry, rest IN the Father and be encouraged. When you have nothing left to give, when there’s nothing you can do, you’re in the perfect position for a miracle. Rely ON the Father, and be encouraged.
“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” ~Acts 14:21-22