We all need encouragement. We all go through struggles and find ourselves in situations where we just need to be inspired and uplifted. And Scripture is full of powerful encouragements that can raise our spirits and compel us to keep going.
We've pulled together 20 inspiring passages to meditate upon. It wouldn't be a bad idea to commit these passages to memory so that they're always with you when you need them!
1. The Lord goes with you (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses is passing the torch to Joshua. Moses is not going to enter the promised land, and it's Joshua who will lead the Israelites into the land God pledged to them. But acquiring that land isn't going to be easy, so Moses reminds them of how God has routed their enemies in the past—and that He can be trusted to do it again.
Right after speaking the words of Deuteronomy 31:6 to Israel, Moses brings Joshua before the congregation and repeats them to him: "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:7b–8).
This is an encouragement that we can take to heart. The Lord is faithful, and we can trust Him to deal with any obstacles that lie between us and His promises.
2. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:8–9)
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
The book of Joshua begins with the death of Moses. Then the Lord addresses Joshua, encouraging and preparing him for what is coming. He reminds Joshua of the importance of meditating on the Law so that Israel will maintain their part of their covenant with Him.
Then God echoes Moses's encouragement to the new leader. Don't be afraid or discouraged. God is with you, so be bold.
We would all do well to heed God's encouragement to immerse ourselves in His Word, and also the reminder that when He is with us, there is nothing we need to fear.
3. The Lord makes your steps firm (Psalm 37:23-24)
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Imagine a world without a lot of flat surfaces. Roads—if they exist at all—are pitted and uneven. And even the most magnificent palaces are crafted from rough-hewn stones. In a world like that, it's a blessing to walk without tripping and stumbling. For a warrior like David, a steady foot can mean the difference between winning or losing a battle.
In this passage from Psalm 37, David uses firm steps as a metaphor for being secure and steady in life. When we delight in the Lord, He helps us to walk upright and secure. And even if we do stumble, He will restore us and hold us up.
4. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid (Psalm 118:5–7)
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.
The writer opens Psalm 118 with the encouragement to "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever" (Psalm 118:1). In verses 5–7, the writer focuses on their personal testimony. When they felt that all the walls were closing in, and they had enemies on every side, the Lord gave them room.
This passage is a reminder of our need to look back at the times that God has delivered us, which will prepare us to face the trials to come.
5. He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5–6)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
When Jesus showed up in Galilee, His message was, "The time has come. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15) The word repent (metanoia) means to change one’s mind. This is what the author of Proverbs is calling for, too.
No longer are we to rely on our own understanding, but we are to trust God's ways and submit our thoughts to Him. And when we do, we'll find that the road before us is no longer crooked or winding.
6. The name of the Lord is a fortified tower (Proverbs 18:10)
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
All ancient near-eastern people understood the value of a fortified tower. There weren't a lot of natural structures that would keep people safe from their adversaries, but a defended tower could both protect them and give them the high-ground advantage over their foes.
The writer of Proverbs draws upon this well-known imagery to express the safety found in God's name. In a region where every people group had their own deity, only in the name of Israel’s God could they find shelter.
7. They will soar on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:29–31)
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
When God called Abram out of Ur, He had a plan for a people that would be His own, and through whom the whole world would be blessed. Since that time, Israel's journey was long and arduous. Sometimes things were so dark that they weren't sure how much longer they could remain a nation. But God's plan endured.
Our strength and endurance are finite. Even the endurance of the young has its limits. But Isaiah reminds us that God is our strength. When we hope in the Lord, He becomes the wind under our wings and the road beneath our feet.
8. I will strengthen and help you (Isaiah 41:10)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Israel had never known peace. And Isaiah is speaking to an exhausted and dejected people. But throughout the Old Testament, God's message to Israel was always consistent. Do not be afraid. Be courageous. I am with you.
This message is still pertinent to God's followers today. God is with us, and we have no reason to be afraid. The only difference is that God is strengthening, helping, and upholding us through the indwelling power of the Spirit.
9. His compassions never fail (Lamentations 3:22–23)
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Many consider Jeremiah to be the author of Lamentations. This sorrowful book is written after the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians. The sins of Judah had caught up with them, and the Babylonians had laid Jerusalem and Solomon's temple to waste.
But the writer wants to let Judah know that, despite their great and unrepentant sin, God’s promise still prevailed. His compassion has never failed, and He has been steadfast in His faithfulness. This is a powerful reminder for us that even "if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13).
Even when we stumble, nothing will separate us from the dependable love of God in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:31–39).
10. Come to me, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28–30)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus is speaking to people whose lives are defined by the burdens placed upon them by their religious leaders. His words were an invitation to step off the treadmill and find rest for their fatigued souls. No longer would they have to submit to religious legalism in order to be right with God.
This invitation still stands. Jesus has fulfilled all of God's requirements on our behalf. These verses should remind us that faith should provide comfort and rest for our spirits, not add a heavier burden to lives that already feel weighed down.
11. With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27)
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Jesus makes the disciples think about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. This statement would have been shocking to men raised to believe that wealth and influences were a result of God’s blessing. If people blessed by God couldn't enter into the kingdom, what hope could the average person have? But Jesus reminds them that nothing is impossible for God.
This statement has a pretty specific context, but it’s still something that we need to be reminded of again and again. Things are never as desperate or challenging as they may appear because—for God—nothing is impossible.
12. You are worth more than many sparrows (Luke 12:6–7)
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
The word translated here as "sparrow" is a more generic term for any number of small birds found around Jerusalem. These birds were a nuisance, often making their nests in the least appropriate spaces. They would be gathered up and sold very cheaply for roasting. But Jesus tells his listeners that God remembers every one of these little birds.
If God is this familiar with these sparrows, how much more beloved are we? Jesus says that God is so intimately acquainted with us that He even knows the number of hairs on our head. The knowledge that God is so lovingly familiar with each of us should inspire us to be fearless.
13. I have overcome the world (John 16:33)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus's earthly ministry with the disciples is drawing to a close—soon, He will be arrested and crucified. In the meantime, He is hard at work preparing the disciples for what is to come. Not only will the crucifixion challenge them to their core, but the work of establishing the church will result in intense hardship. But He encourages them with the fact that He has already overcome the world.
It's virtually impossible to get through life unscathed by sorrow and adversity, but Jesus's words should bring comfort. He has overthrown the powers and principalities in this world. They might not realize it yet, but they are already defeated.
14. He will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Sometimes we find ourselves being tempted and think that this trial is unique to us. But you will never experience a temptation no one else has ever faced. On top of that, there is no temptation that is simply too powerful for you to resist.
When we realize that we're all tempted and there is always a way out, temptations begin to lose their power.
(If you'd like to learn more about handling temptation, check out the post "Lessons from the Temptations of Jesus.")
15. My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We're not sure what affliction Paul suffered (2 Corinthians 12:7), but he prayed for God to take it away. Christ responded to these requests with the reassurance that His ever-present grace is sufficient and that His power is most apparent because of Paul's weakness—not in spite of it.
We spend so much of our time and energy avoiding weaknesses, insults, and hardships, but Paul delights in them. Why? Because God's power is most evident when we're not reliant on our own abilities.
16. Do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:4–7)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What if your joy wasn't contingent upon your circumstances? It's hard to imagine, right? But that's exactly what Paul calls us to. We should rejoice in the Lord—always. This frees us to rid ourselves of anxiety and worry, and instead, put our trust in God.
When we are too reliant on our own abilities to get out of difficult and trying situations, we spend so much of our time tense, nervous, and frustrated. But when we train ourselves to respond to situations with prayer and petition, we begin to trust God to enable, equip, and empower us. The result? Peace.
17. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12–13)
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul's ministry was a struggle. Not only did he suffer abuse, but he was often hungry, cold, and ill-equipped for life as an itinerant preacher (2 Corinthians 11:16–29). Yet he tells us that—in the midst of these trials—he has learned the secret of contentment. That should make us all perk up our ears.
The secret that Paul has learned is this: whether he has all he needs or nothing he needs, Jesus is the one who strengthens him. Paul is no longer reliant upon ideal circumstances to fulfill him. Now that he realizes that it's God who gives him strength, he can be happy in any circumstance.
18. The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid (2 Timothy 1:7)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
We're not entirely sure how young Timothy was, but we know he was young enough that Paul warned him not to let others discount him for his youth (1 Timothy 4:12). In his second letter to the young minister, Paul encourages him not to be timid. He reminds Timothy that the Spirit that indwells him is equipping him with power and self-discipline.
This is another version of the admonition that we find throughout Scripture: "Do not be afraid!" And this same Spirit indwells those who follow Jesus today.
19. Spur one another on (Hebrews 10:24–25)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
This is one of the first passages that people turn to remind others of the importance of church attendance. And it's definitely helpful for convincing others to show up for church services. But we don't want to miss the motivation here.
The writer of Hebrews wants believers to stimulate one another to be more loving and sacrificial. This is the reason that we need to gather together consistently. There are others who need our encouragement—and we need theirs. The call to community isn't a religious obligation; it's an opportunity to bless others and to be blessed.
20. Cast all your anxieties on God (1 Peter 5:7)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
So many biblical encouragements are related to human anxieties. It makes sense that we're so fearful of so many things. There isn't a lot to feel secure about in the world. But God seems to work overtime to convince us that when we trust Him, we no longer need to be afraid of others or circumstances that lie outside of our control. Once again, we are encouraged to toss all of the things we're afraid of at God's feet. Why? Because He cares for us.
The Bible is full of encouragement
There are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible, so we've probably missed your favorite. Leave us a comment and tell us what inspiring passage you turn to when you need encouragement and why.
Want to improve your spiritual life? Check out the post "How Can I Get Closer to God?"