Encourage – to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope (Merriam-Webster)
Encouragement. I have heard it said that too much of anything can be bad for you but I am convinced this adage does not apply to encouragement. There is so much in life that can attack our hope, weaken our determination, and decrease our confidence. As a result, encouragement is always needed. It is one “vitamin” on which we cannot overdose.
What encourages you, inspires you with courage, spirit or hope? How do you encourage yourself? Do you encourage yourself or do you lean more towards harsh self-criticism?
In the Biblical book of 1 Samuel, a distressing time in the life of David, the shepherd and psalmist who became the 2nd king of Israel, is documented. He was in danger of being stoned by his men who were bitter over the loss of their children in a raid. We are told that during this period of distress and potential danger, “David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6 AMP). Many times in Scripture, God is referred to as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (click here for examples). But not in this story. It is David’s personal relationship with God which is highlighted. He “encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (bold emphasis added). Indeed, there is encouragement and strengthening that come from a personal, intimate relationship with God. From knowing that we are His.
Here are reminders of this truth (that we are His) from His written Word:
“Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His— His people, the sheep of His pasture” (Ps. 100:3 HCSB).
“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom. 14:8 HCSB).
“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3 HCSB).
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” (Rom. 8:15 HCSB).
“You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 HCSB).
“But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:25-26 HCSB).
“But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13 HCSB).
Whatever you are experiencing, whatever you face in this new month, or will face in this new year, you can, like David, encourage and strengthen yourself in the Lord your God. Knowledge deepens intimacy so commit to growing in accurate knowledge of the One to whom you belong.
Be encouraged. You belong to God. Remind yourself of this truth until it takes root in your spirit. You. Belong. To. God. And He has promised never to leave you or forsake you.