God the encouragerGod encourages us.
Firstly, by being with us.
Can you picture it?
Imagine the Holy Spirit, our coach, whispering to our hearts "I'm with you - you are loved, you are Mine and I will not leave you or forsake you!"
Paul talks about this in detail when he talks about the work of the Spirit in Romans 8 and 2Corinthians 4.
- The Holy Spirit groaning in us as He prays for us
- The Holy Spirit working in all things for our good
- We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
- Neither height nor depth nor anything in all creation can separate us from the love of God
- We have treasure in our earthen vessels. The power is from God and not from us.
- We are struck down but not destroyed, persecuted but not abandoned...
Secondly, by empowering us.
- Peter, filled with the Spirit, addresses and confronts the "Religious Mafia" of the day. (Acts 4:8)
- The fledgling church is filled with boldness when the Spirit filled them (Acts 4:31)
- Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, confronts the deceiver Elymas. (Acts 13:9)
- When the Acts Missionaries were harshly expelled from Pisidian Antioch it was being filled with joy from the Spirit that gave them the courage to carry on... (Acts 13:52)
Thirdly, by comforting us.
Paul puts it like this: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2Cor1:3-4)
On top of all of this, we must be very cognisant of the fact that God is especially close to the afflicted. He hears the cries of the fatherless and the oppressed. When bullies attack us, God gives us the courage and the strength to stand up to them. And when God encourages us then the bullies don't frighten us any more.
|You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; |
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalms10:17-18)