Thursday, October 7, 2010


I've been thinking lately about encouragement. Being unemployed and needing it is an interesting place to be. I've found that people either tell me that they've been praying for me or they try to fix my problem by giving me advice on job searching, thinking of ways to help me financially, etc. The former is great, the latter is not so helpful* (see below for more about that, here's a preview - it's not so great if that's all you get).

So I decided to look up the verse about 'encouraging one another daily.' Here it is:

13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Then I read the surrounding text:

7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
9where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.'
11So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest.' "

12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15As has just been said:

"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts,
as you did in the rebellion."

16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

It seems to me that encouragement is a means to help one another keep from disbelief, which points to there being a danger of this happening. Therefore, our encouragement to one another is to keep us from turning away from God. It's to keep us from being hardened against sin and its' deceitfulness.

As I think of this, and of needing encouragement at this time of my life, and how the most helpful is when I'm reminded of God's promises - through His word. Trying to fix my 'problem' is fruitless, because I don't see unemployment as my biggest problem. My biggest problem has already been fixed - through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ - who died for my sins - taking on Himself the eternal wrath that I deserve. I now have an inheritance of an eternity with Christ. Praise the LORD! However, there is a danger for me personally, through this on-going trial, that I may start to be hardened towards my God. That I may start to believe the lies of this world and of Satan. This is what I need most help with. And by God's grace and through His Holy Spirit, I'm persevering! But as I just read in Hebrews, we are to help each other with that.

Where God has me in my life right now is not a problem at all. It's a privilege! It's right where He has planned** for me to be. Where is the problem in that?***

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One
see decay.

11 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.

I think from now on I will seek to encourage others in the gospel, in the hope of their salvation, using God's word and pointing to them how He works.

Think I will be looking into encouragement some more. Stay tuned...

*I do want to stress that offering to help is great! But I thing that sometimes it's just easier for us to offer solutions to a problem, instead of maybe giving more of ourselves for someones spiritual good. I think a balance of both is good. Personally I'm getting more of this kind of help, and would really appreciate more encouragement for my heart.

**Psalm 33:11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations.


Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.



***The answer is the hazards to my heart.


  1. I just found your blog, thanks to your comment on Jon Acuff's "Shameless Saturday" post. I wanted to take a moment to encourage you. I am unemployed too (and horrifically over-educated). It sucks. But it does give us a unique opportunity to really listen to God. Thank you for sharing what He's saying to you.