Encouragement can feel a variety of ways. When I’m encouraged, I feel:
- Motivated — Appreciated — Energized — Hopeful
- Validated — Inspired — Reassured — Comforted
- Supported — Positive — Enthused — Supported
When I’m encouraged, I’m more patient as well as more motivated to pursue peace with others. Encouragement just makes me an all-around better person. Does it do the same for you?
When I expect encouragement from other people, I’m always disappointed. They never meet my expectation, usually because my expectations are too high and/or because others just don’t know and have no way of knowing what they are. Also, I want encouragement from others to be authentic, a genuine part of who they are, and not from a place of obligation and should.
When I expect encouragement from God, I’m never disappointed. He goes beyond my expectations and far surpasses anything I can hope or imagine.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
What does it mean to not only receive encouragement from God but to have what he gives go well beyond what we can think of or even imagine? Maybe you are like I once was and how Han Solo so perfectly expresses:
“I don’t know. I can imagine quite a bit.” (Star Wars: A New Hope)
God’s encouragement always seems to be a surprise and unexpected even when they happen every day.
- A sunrise or sunset
- Ocean waves
- A child’s laughter
- A smile from a stranger
Even though he so faithfully and consistently doles out encouragement, I still find myself surprised by it.
God encourages through the people we know as well as through the daily events in our lives. He encourages us in many unusual ways too. Take a minute and think about the ways God has encouraged you recently.
Really, there are simply too many ways to list. You just don’t always realize that until you get going. I find that once I start to list them, I have a hard time stopping.
Here’s how scripture says we are encouraged by God:
1. Through the Holy Spirit
“The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.” (Acts 9:31)
2. Through Scripture
“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.” (Romans 15:4)
3. Through our position in Christ
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?” (Philippians 2:1)
When I experience all the emotions that can accompany being encouraged, I better understand what Isaiah meant when he wrote what has become one of the most quoted passages of Scripture.
“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
While I’m changed in many ways when I am encouraged by the Lord, the biggest impact comes in a desire to encourage others. Encouragement is just one of those gifts you don’t want to keep for yourself.