“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

4.5 Some Encouragement

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

The prior chapters have been fairly lengthy and heavy chapters. Perhaps you are feeling a bit down or somewhat overwhelmed after reading the chapter on perseverance in particular, and you may be wondering how you will be able to “stand firm in the faith,” “fight the good fight of faith,” and “finish the race.” But know this, not only has God redeemed you from bondage under sin, Satan and death and given you new life, He also gives you everything that you will need in order to persevere in faith until the very end. Amazing, yes?

As surely as trials and tribulations will come your way, you will also see that the Word of God and the power of His Spirit stand firm to hold you up. Even further, God actually equips you with the tools, power, wisdom and strength that you will need. We discuss these further in upcoming chapters:

  • The Peace of God: God will give you His supernatural peace as you walk with Him; a Christian is called to be a warrior for Christ, not a worrier for Christ! Constant anxiety has no part in the life of a Christian.
  • The Wisdom of God: God will guide you through His wisdom. A Christian should seek and utilize the wisdom which comes from above, which is peaceable and pure, which is of God, not the wisdom of man. The wisdom of man only leads to myths, wild speculation, mystical conjurings, opinions, “traditions,” schemes, false teachings and the continued endless wars, violence, suffering, destruction and death we see all around us in this fallen world.
  • The Armor of God: A Christian is to put on what is called “the armor of God” so they can stand firm in the faith and persevere in all things. Remember that we are in a spiritual war with the forces of darkness and evil, and as a Christian, you have now moved to the front lines of the battle!
  • The Power of Prayer: Prayer is how we talk with God, and it is a vital part of the life of every Christian. It is also through prayer that you do battle with the (spiritual) forces of evil. A Christian is not called to pick up the carnal weapons of war and destruction created by man, for they are not effective whatsoever in the battle we are fighting (see also 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Isaiah 2:1-4).
  • The Kingdom of God: You are now part of the Kingdom of God, which is not at some future time on earth, it is right now! Jesus is right now ruling and reigning as Lord and King in His Kingdom, and you are also in the kingdom as a child of God. You are called to be about the business of the Lord, being a Kingdom Builder if you will, not to be entangled with the political or nationalistic affairs of this world and of man.

Know that you will be able to do all things now by the power of Christ who lives in you. Always remember, Jesus has already won and assured us of victory:

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

We further read, in what I think is among the loftiest passages in all of Scripture as they soar to unimaginable heights, that nothing whatsoever can separate us from the love of God:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered
.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:28-39

Those verses are truly awesome in their power, hope, conviction and assurance!  Below is a note of encouragement from one of the verse cards in our Rays of Hope booklet on Romans 8:28-29:

God sees you and He sees everything that happens to you. He sees everything that happens, past, present and future; He knows all. Nothing surprises Him; nothing sneaks past Him. He promises that all things work together for your good and the good of all those together with you who love Him, whether it is easy to understand the “why” right now or not. You are in His loving care! He will never, leave you, forget you or forsake you, ever! His nature is perfect holiness, love, mercy and grace. Trust in His nature at all times with utmost confidence, joy and hope.

So, we live in His assurance – the assurance of things to come that we read about in Scripture; and Scripture tells us that God’s word will never fail (“return void”):

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11

Understand that every single thing that happens to you as a Christian is now under the watch, care and protection of Christ – there is no such thing as being “lucky,” or “a coincidence” for a Christian. Matthew Henry writes: [1]

Providence must be acknowledged when things happen thus opportunely, and we are favoured by some little circumstances that contribute to the expediting of our affairs; and we must say, it is God that maketh our way perfect

Matthew Henry further writes these notes of encouragement:

Another instance of favor that Christ promises to this church is persevering grace in the most trying times (Rev 3:10), and this as the reward of their past fidelity. To him that hath shall be given. Here observe,

[1.] The gospel of Christ is the word of his patience. It is the fruit of the patience of God to a sinful world; it sets before men the exemplary patience of Christ in all his sufferings for men; it calls those that receive it to the exercise of patience in conformity to Christ.

[2.] This gospel should be carefully kept by all that enjoy it; they must keep up to the faith, and practice, and worship prescribed in the gospel.

[3.] After a day of patience, we must expect an hour of temptation; a day of gospel peace and liberty is a day of God’s patience, and it is seldom so well improved as it should be and therefore it is often followed by an hour of trial and temptation.

[4.] Sometimes the trial is more general and universal; it comes upon all the world, and, when it is so general, it is usually the shorter.

[5.] Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation. By keeping the gospel, they are prepared for the trial; and the same divine grace that has made them fruitful in times of peace will make them faithful in times of persecution. …

After his usual manner, our Savior promises a glorious reward to the victorious believer, in two things:

(1.) He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; not a pillar to support the temple (heaven needs no such props), but a monument of the free and powerful grace of God, a monument that shall never be defaced nor removed, as many stately pillars erected in honor to the Roman emperors and generals have been.

(2.) On this monumental pillar there shall be an honorable inscription, as in those cases is usual.

[1.] The name of God, in whose cause he engaged, whom he served, and for whom he suffered in this warfare; and the name of the city of God, the church of God, the new Jerusalem, which came down from heaven. On this pillar shall be recorded all the services the believer did to the church of God, how he asserted her rights, enlarged her borders, maintained her purity and honor; this will be a greater name than Asiaticus, or Africanus; a soldier under God in the wars of the church. And then another part of the inscription is,

[2.] The new name of Christ, the Mediator, the Redeemer, the captain of our salvation; by this it will appear under whose banner this conquering believer had enlisted, under whose conduct he acted, by whose example he was encouraged, and under whose influence he fought the good fight, and came off victorious.

Furthermore, God doesn’t change His mind, break His promises, or speak lies. He cannot; His nature is perfect, holy, pure, righteous and true. Remember His words as a stronghold in times of distress and look forward to the joy of heaven with Christ. God promises to make all things new, and as a believer in Christ, you will be there to see it yourself, with Him. Look past the trials and tribulations of this present world to the future time of unspeakable glory, joy, peace and happiness with Christ in heaven.

You start each day new in Christ. Learn from yesterday’s mistakes (and successes) but press on today towards Christ, no matter what happened yesterday. Pick yourself up, go forward toward Christ (lean into Him) and persevere in your faith. Trust in His perfect will and in His commandments. Trust in your faith, strengthened by Him. He will never lose or forget you. Pray to Him daily, constantly, with boldness and with full candor; let Him walk with you today. Let His peace guard your heart. Stay focused only on Him, each day.

The Bible is so full of verses of hope, inspiration and victory that it’s hard to know which ones to list in this chapter. I’ve included some that have helped me greatly when I was starting out on pilgrimage as a Christian; I’m sure you will find your own favorites over time as well. It’s very helpful to have verses memorized, so you can recall them in times of need or distress, and to have them handy to encourage and teach others. See also the inspirational Psalms at the end of this book.

FALSE TEACHING(S) YOU WILL ENCOUNTER:

  • How about we have one chapter without false teachings getting in the way

RELATED SCRIPTURE:

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. – Acts 5:41

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:29-31

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:35-40

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” – John 12:31-32

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:1-3

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:6-8

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 15:58

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
“Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!” – Job 19:25-27

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the Lord is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. – Psalm 18:30

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18

But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. – Nehemiah 9:17

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread? – Psalm 27:1

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:1-3

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. – Isaiah 40:28-31

But the Lord abides forever;
He has established His throne for judgment,
And He will judge the world in righteousness;
He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.
The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:7-10

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. – 1 Peter 4:7-14

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:6-7

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. – Colossians 2:13-15

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
“Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.” – Job 19:25-27

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me. – Psalm 23:4

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.   Selah. – Psalm 62:1-2,5-8

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day [the great Day of Judgment]. – 2 Timothy 1:12

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. – 2 Timothy 4:18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:10-13

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

…so that we confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”
– Hebrews 13:6

“Lo, I [Jesus] am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” – John 20:29

The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples,
That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not disobedient
Nor did I turn back.
I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
For the Lord God helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed. – Isaiah 50:4-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

[1] Henry, Matthew. Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, London. 1706-1710/1721.

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