When we encourage, it is taught that we are literally putting courage into someone. In scripture, the Encourager is someone who comes alongside of another and gives them comfort as well as strength. Encouragement itself nurtures patience and kindness as in as in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 –Love is patient and kind;love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Encouragement is like water to our thirsty spirits as we walk in the journey of faith. We need the companionship of one another; to be lifted up by kind words, a listening heart and the gifts of time, patience and most especially gospel love. When we are compassionate during difficult times with one another it builds “muscles of courage” in one another that will strengthen the bonds of love. What are the muscles of courage? They are acts of bravery.
The Biblical definition of courage is defined as being motivated by the heart to do something brave. The Biblical definition of Encouragement is the act of giving hope. An Encourager, then is one that motivates others to have hope so that they are motivated from their hearts to be brave.
Got Questions.com describes that without encouragement, hardship becomes meaningless, and our will to go on wanes. The prophet Elijah struggled with discouragement (1 Kings 19:3-10), and so do we. It is important to remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). This truth makes encouragement all the more important. It is not just that we face the world’s displeasure; we are caught in the crosshairs of a spiritual battle. When we are encouraged in Christ, we have strength to put on our spiritual armor and remain steadfast (see Ephesians 6:10-18).
Even in places where Christians do not experience overt persecution or hatred, we all know that life can be difficult. Discouragement is not an uncommon human experience. At times, recognizing that there is meaning in the seemingly inconsequential things we do seems next to impossible. We may want to give up. Yet He who calls us is faithful, and He gives us the power to be faithful, too (1 Corinthians 1:9).
Christian Quotes on Encouragement
“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.” —Florence Nightingale
“Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to faultfinding.”–Corrie Ten Bloom
“I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.”–Charles Spurgeon
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” —Helen Keller
“Believers, look up. Take courage. The angels are nearer than you think.” Billy Graham
“Honest and courageous people have very little to say about either their courage or their honesty.” Hosea Ballou
“There was a castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair.” John Bunyan
“The principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly rather than to attack them.” Thomas Aquinas
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” —C.S. Lewis
I was delivered from the burden that had so heavily suppressed me. The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew what it was to truly rejoice in God my Savior. –George Whitefield.
The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting. –C.S. Lewis
It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full. –A. B. Simpson
Joy is Strength. –– Mother Teresa
Joy is the serious business of Heaven. –C.S. Lewis
The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice. –A.W. Pink
Those who know where the treasure lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it. –D.A. Carson
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. — Augustine.
It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change. –-Hudson Taylor
The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. ‘If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,’ Jesus said, ‘he will find his true self.’ –Elizabeth Elliot
In the long run, there can be no joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all. –Frederick Buechner
When the heart is full of joy, it always allows its joy to escape. It is like the fountain in the marketplace; whenever it is full it runs away in streams, and so soon as it ceases to overflow, you may be quite sure that it has ceased to be full. The only full heart is the overflowing heart. –Charles Spurgeon
Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If we are saved by grace alone, this salvation is a constant source of amazed delight. Nothing is mundane or matter-of-fact about our lives. It is a miracle we are Christians, and the Gospel, which creates bold humility, should give us a far deeper sense of humor and joy. We don’t take ourselves seriously, and we are full of hope for the world. –Tim Keller
We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy. –C.S. Lewis
We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal. –J. I. Packer
A Disciples Joy
These references on a Disciple’s Joy are from Bible.org. The link is at the bottom of the page for the entire article on Luke 10:17-24, it is greatly recommended.–LW
Joy is always the outcome of true salvation. Note some of these biblical examples of joy.
ABRAHAM’S JOY WAS IN THE COMING OF CHRIST
“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).
THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH EXPERIENCED JOY IN HIS SALVATION
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39).
THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER’S JOY
The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and the whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God (Acts 16:34).
JOY IS TO CHARACTERIZE THE LIFE OF THE TRUE BELIEVER
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. a prayer of David (Psalm 16:11).
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights (Psalm 36:8).
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God (Psalm 43:4).
GOD FINDS PLEASURE IN OUR SALVATION
As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you (Isa. 62:5).
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more (Isa. 65:18-19).
I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul (Jer. 32:41).
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
ALL HEAVEN REJOICES IN MAN’S SALVATION
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7-10).
JOHN THE BAPTIST’S JOY WAS IN JESUS’ INTRODUCTION
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete (John 3:29).
THE DISCIPLES’ JOY WAS JESUS’ DESIRE AND PRAYER
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:20-24).
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them (John 17:13).
THE CHRISTIAN CAN EXPERIENCE JOY IN SUFFERING
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name (Acts 5:41).
Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope … Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:2, 11).
These any many, many other passages in Scriptures tells me that joy is one of the principle motivations, not only for the Christian, but even for God Himself. God saved men for His own pleasure. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). The saints are sustained in their present affliction, knowing the joy that lies ahead, not to mention the joy of knowing and serving God, and even of suffering for His name’s sake. The book of Philippians was written during one of the worst periods of the apostle Paul’s life and yet the keynote which prevails throughout the book is joy.
My study of joy in our text and in the Bible has led me to this conclusion: OUR PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE SEEK HAPPINESS OR PLEASURE IN LIFE, IT IS IN SEEKING PLEASURE IN ANYTHING BUT GOD HIMSELF.
I know that I have been guilty of saying to others, “It is wrong to seek to be happy. What we should seek rather is to be godly.” But this is not really consistent with what our Lord says in our text. It is not that we are wrong in seeking joy and pleasure; we are wrong in seeking pleasure in anything but God.
This leads me to another observation: WE HAVE OFTEN ERRED IN SEEKING TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE BY THE NEGATIVE MOTIVATIONS GUILT OR FEAR, RATHER THAN OF JOY.
The pursuit of joy in God and God alone could virtually revolutionize our lives. Think of some of the implications of this:
WORSHIP IS OUR JOY IN GOD OVERFLOWING IN PRAISE TO GOD. If we were to enjoy God more our worship would overflow in praise and adoration. The Psalms overflow with both joy in the Lord and the praise of God.
EVANGELISM IS OUR JOY IN GOD OVERFLOWING IN PRAISING GOD TO MEN. We talk about the things we enjoy. If our joy were in the Lord, we would talk about Him often, not because it was our duty so much as because God is our delight.
SERVICE IS OUR JOY IN GOD OVERFLOWING IN MINISTRY TO OTHERS. I believe that burnout is probably the result of a lack of joy in our service, as much or more than anything else. Service that is motivated by guilt or fear will not be a ministry of joy, and we will quickly burn out. Joy is the fuel of faithful service. Joy in the growth and progress of others in their enjoyment of God was a part of the fuel of Paul’s service:
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thes. 2:19).
ENDURING PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING IS THE RESULT OF SETTING THE JOY OF GOD AND OF HIS PROMISES ABOVE THE PRESENT PLEASURES OF SIN. When we choose to disobey God, as did Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, it is because we have doubted God’s promises, and disdained His pleasures. Instead, we disobey, seeking those pleasures which are both fleeting and fatal. Finding pleasure in God is an antidote, a deterrent to finding pleasure in sin. We read of Moses, who
“… chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:25-26).
OUR STUDY OF, AND OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD IS MOTIVATED BY THE JOY IT GIVES TO GOD AND TO US. David found his deepest joy in God, and thus he also found great delight in the Law of God—the Law, mind you. That which we turn up our noses. The Law of God was David’s great desire because he knew that the Law revealed what was pleasing to God and what was not. Because David found his pleasure in God, he found pleasure in studying God’s Word and in obeying it.
“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoiced in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:14-16).
LONG-TERM DEPRESSION IS THE WILLFUL CHOICE NOT TO FIND PLEASURE IN ANYTHING, NOT EVEN IN GOD. Long-term depression, that which we choose to live with, is a choice to live in a way that is a perversion of God’s purpose. It is choosing pain over pleasure misery over His majesty, pity rather than praise.
LEGALISM IS PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH NOT MAKING GOD MAD, WHILE GRACE IS LIVING IN A WAY THAT WILL BRING PLEASURE TO GOD. Legalism views God as angry, begrudging, and hostile. It lives in a way that will not “set God off.” Christian liberty views God as an intimate being, with whom we delight to commune, and who finds delight in our obedience. Christian liberty loves to please God. (I am inclined to think that the one thing which most irritated the scribes and Pharisees was the joy which Jesus found, especially in the salvation of sinners—cf. Luke 5:27-35.)