About a week ago, the Holy Spirit started teaching me about the word encourage. It is the word courage with the prefix of “en”. This prefix comes from Greek and means “in”. The word actually means “in courage” or can be defined as “make strong”. It seems to me that the world has slanted this definition into “make feel better” and “speak only positive words”. Let’s look at true encouragement.
If we go back to look at the way Yeshua Jesus encouraged each of the seven churches in Revelation, we have a great example. He begins by introducing Himself as the One who is able help. Then, He speaks about the truth of the matter…including the negatives and the problem. He tells about the need to change and gives instructions. Then, He continues to encourage in how He will help including the promise of hope and reward of good in the final outcome….should we choose to follow Him.
In the last week, my husband and I have experienced this kind of true encouragement. Through medical testing, my husband learned about major damage to his heart. We heard the tragic and painful news of the real truth that he needs a triple by pass open heart surgery. It is factual truth and they told us plainly what we needed to face. We wept and held each other tightly. He was immediately admitted to the cardiac unit of the St. Cloud hospital. They informed us of how they can help and the hope in surgery and recovery. They were honest about the lengthy recovery and change of lifestyle required to return to the best health possible. Our heads and hearts were spinning and tossing about. Yet, they assured us of their expertise, experience, and success in this kind of surgery. They also told us that the extent of recovery is dependent upon the focus, effort, and obedience to instruction of the patient in the required changes including continued therapy and assistance. They faced truth, but offered hope and a solution….true encouragement. After the news went out to family and friends, we had so many people come and testify to us that they themselves had been under this type of heart surgery and had traveled through to full recovery or knew someone else who had “overcome”. More strong and true encouragement.
That first day was a raging storm of mind and emotions. But, that night the Holy Spirit reminded me of Yeshua Jesus walking on the stormy waves….when Peter followed Yeshua Jesus invitation to “come”, even Peter began walking on the crazy waves…but when he lost focus on Yeshua Jesus and started looking at the stormy waves, he began to sink…even then when his faith was weak, Yeshua Jesus reached out His hand to pull him up out of the water and save Him. Yeshua calmed the storm and they ended up safely at the other side together. That is how we stand on the solid Rock. That is how we get into the “cleft of the Rock”. We must keep our focus on Yeshua Jesus and follow His instructions. That is true hope and encouragement!
I was reminded of many other Words that God has spoken as promises to us….He will never leave or forsake us. He is ever present. Come boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you. He can extend to me the peace that passes understanding. The Amplified Bible extends the word “believe” to mean “to lean on, trust in, rely on”. Yeshua Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life. Psalm 23…He is my Good Shepherd who restores my soul, leads me in peace; when I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death, His rod and staff to direct and keep me close and in the right path will comfort me..so that I need fear no evil..and He sets a table of provision before me right in the face of my enemy..resulting in my cup overflowing with goodness and mercy …..and continual eternal dwelling with Him. What true encouragement…making me strong and of good courage!
False encouragement sounds good and makes people feel good, but it will lead the wrong way and ultimately destroy. It’s focus is on “me” and how “I” feel and how important “I” am to God or the world. False encouragement speaks only positive and happy thoughts, on flattery, usually emotionally satisfying. It tries to give strength to self worth or the opposite of self pity. It is highly sentimental and pets people with comforting smooth words…even if it means bending or not disclosing the truth. I am sure you have encountered this type of false encouragement. It masks itself as compassion. There are many “false prophets”, “false comforters”, “false counselors” in the world. Everyone wants to “eat up” their smooth feel good words and clever phrases. Their words do not face the problem or require change. Rather they uplift and endorse the person “just as they are”. But, that only leads to false hope. True encouragement is NOT false hope. Anytime I scroll through Facebook, I encounter so much false encouragement….and I pray for those sending and receiving those messages. I also notice that most people reject true encouragement because it requires repentance and change.
True encouragement can only come by being honest about the stormy situation and focusing on Yeshua Jesus. It requires change and our cooperation with His instructions. His Words give us hope and strength. He can bring healing and restoration. Thank you Lord, for your true encouragement and support in this stormy walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death….and your promise to lead us through to Your provision! The world cannot understand this peace…but what a heavenly treasure He gives when we “buy into” these riches from Him (as He instructed the Laodician church to purchase heavenly riches from Him or the five virgins without enough oil)!
My husband’s surgery is tomorrow morning. While they will be breaking into his heart, my heart will be breaking too….but I intend to keep my focus and faith in our Lord, Yeshua Jesus….He is with us….and we are leaning on, trusting in, and relying on Him…we know His intensions for us are only for our good….we are in His hands…and we have that hope and peace that passes the understanding of natural mind. That is how He helps us be overcomers in Life! He encourages us to walk on water above the crazy waves with Him!