At times we all receive and probably give encouragement that sounds cliché, overly-optimistic, or maybe just very superficial—i.e., “Don’t worry, everything is going to turn out fine.”
But even as we say it, we are half-wondering if it is true ourselves.
So, how can we encourage people in a deep, honest and scriptural way? The Bible offers some insights into why real encouragement is essential and what it looks like for people who follow Christ.
WHY STRIVE TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE BIBLICALLY?
- So we’re not deceived by sin and hardened against God. Wow, that’s huge! This verse also specifies that we should be encouraging each other daily as a safeguard. (Hebrews 3:13)
- So we will be encouraged and knit together by love, having complete confidence in Christ. (Colossians 2:2)
- To help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. God gives us an abundance of hope and encouragement in the Bible, so we should direct people to the source of real encouragement—Him.
“We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself.As the Scriptures say, ‘The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.’ Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:2-6
HOW DO WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE BIBLICALLY?
- Through genuinely loving people. (Philemon 1:7). If you can love the other person more like Christ does, you will naturally be an encouragement to them. “But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” -1 Corinthians 8:1
- By growing in your own faith. You can do this, for example, by learning fresh insights from your time in the Bible and prayer each day. This allows you to have something life-giving to share with others. You can be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:11-12)
- Through actually using verses in the Bible (in their context, with good teaching), in your conversation. (2 Timothy 4:2). This might mean reading or quoting verses that affirm something the person is doing well, or sharing verses that apply to areas of struggle. This could happen in the context of a conversation or even a letter or e-mail message.
- By encouraging believers to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Christ is where our purpose and true life is found. Without trusting in Him, there is very little to be encouraged about. (Acts 11:22-24).
- By reminding people where our hope is really found—not in this temporary life but in heaven with Christ.
“Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16b-18