What do you think of when you hear that word?
I have a picture of a kind friend or family member sympathetically listening to my woes, giving me a hug, and saying they’ll be praying for me.
All wonderful, yes – but I think encouragement means so much more than a comforting word. It’s something more than a "warm fuzzy."
Grammar lesson time - (please don’t run away – there will be NO pop quiz!)
The word encouragement starts with the prefix "en." "En" means this – to put into, to go into, to cause to be.
Here are just a few of the words that start with the prefix "en."
Enable – To make able
Enoble – To make noble
Encode – To make coded
So, in this sense, encouragement means to make courageous – to put courage into someone, to cause them to be courageous.
Quite literally, encouragement is to inspire with spirit or hope. To raise the level of confidence. To spur on. To imbue with resolution and tenacity. To give someone the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Therefore, conversely, being discouraged is more than just feeling bad, or a little down. It is literally being "un-couraged" – having one’s courage taken away. It is being powerless, afraid, and defeated.
I don’t want to be defeated – I want to be made courageous.
It’s like this – (here comes the crazy English major with her word picture analogies – you’ve been warned!)
Out on a muddy battlefield, I’ve been fighting the good fight. But then, I fall down, losing my sword in the process. Laying in the mud, I am too exhausted to get up. I am discouraged. The truly encouraging comrade-in-arms is not the person who comes over, pats me on the back, and says, "Things will get better. Hang in there."
The EN-courager is the one who picks me up, wipes the mud from my face, finds my sword, slaps it back into my hand, grabs my arm, and says, "C’mon. We’ve got no time to waste. We’ve got a battle to fight, and we can do this! WE ARE CONQUERERS!!"
That person has made me courageous again.
So, I want to EN-courage you today. I don’t want to pat you on the back and tell you that things will get better. They might not. In fact, if you really choose to step out for the Lord, I’ll bet they get worse. The enemy doesn’t like an offensive warrior.
But, pay no attention to him.
He desires nothing less than to dis-courage you. Turn a deaf ear to his lies.
Listen instead to the ultimate EN-courager – God Himself.
"This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
That’s the secret. God tells us over and over again – I AM WITH YOU!
So, let Him make you courageous again. Let Him give you His Sword.
Go to the Word of God and let it EN-courage you today. And then go out and EN-courage someone else.
We’re all in this fight together!
We’ve got no time to waste.
We’ve got a battle to fight.
We can do this.
WE ARE CONQUERERS!
BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”