23 Encouraging Bible Verses to Lift You Up

23 Encouraging Bible Verses to Lift You Up

When you’re in the middle of the storms of life, it can be hard to find the strength you need to keep going. And when a friend, a loved one, or a member of your church faces trials, it’s difficult to know how to encourage them.

Thankfully, the Bible is an incredible source of encouragement. The words of Jesus can comfort us when we’re feeling broken, weary, and worthless. Paul and the other New Testament authors can fill us up and inspire us to face the challenges of the Christian life. Like the Israelites, we too can lean on God’s promises during our darkest hour.

We’ve pulled together 23 encouraging passages from Scripture. Whether you or people you care about are struggling with temptation, in the middle of a crisis, or just trying to keep going, God can use these verses to uplift you.

1. 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.”

To the Jews living in Jesus’ day, two constant burdens were difficult to bear: Rome and the Law of Moses. One constantly oppressed them, and the other held them to an impossible standard. Jesus offered an easier yoke and a lighter burden.

While we aren’t being oppressed by Rome, and as Christians we’re not bound to the covenant between God and Israel, Jesus still offers rest for our souls. And that’s good, because life is exhausting. Between work, school, ministry, bills, relationships, and everything else, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressures and expectations that weigh us down. Jesus doesn’t ask us to work for the things the world expects us to. When we go to him and focus on the things that matter to him, we can find rest for our souls. 

While the circumstances of your life can push you to the physical, emotional, or mental breaking point, Jesus offers us an easier yoke and a lighter burden.

2. Therefore we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Illness, injury, and physical challenges can make us uncomfortably aware of how fragile we are. But no matter how broken we feel, God can renew us from within. Your body is not a reflection of your spirit. And if we endure hardship for Christ—for a moment, a month, or a lifetime—our trials and tribulations will be nothing in comparison to the glory we will experience when Christ returns and calls us home. 

This isn’t about reducing the weight of your suffering. It’s about seeing your pain and your struggles next to the triumph of the cross and the promise of eternal life with Jesus. God gives us the strength to endure each day, and at the end of this life, he has something far greater in store for those who persevere.

3. Let perseverance finish its work (James 1:2–4)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

When you’re hurting, it’s not very encouraging to hear someone say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But in the first century, that’s exactly what James said to the early Christians as they faced the constant threat of persecution. It wasn’t to lessen the significance of their pain and suffering but to reveal something about what happens when our faith is tested.As you endure, your capacity to endure grows. When you persevere through something hard, other experiences begin to feel easy in comparison. 

With every new trial—whether that be the loss of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, a financial crisis, a struggle with sin, or something else—you have an opportunity to come out as a more mature and complete follower of Christ. Pastor Francis Chan compares this to the process of refining precious metals, which have to be melted repeatedly in order to remove impurities and produce the final product.

4. Do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6–7)

“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.”

Anxiety disorders affect almost 20 percent of the U.S. population every year. We have a lot to be anxious about. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to be anxious because the things you’re anxious about don’t matter. Rather, it offers a solution to the anxiety we experience in the moment: if you’re worried about something, bring it to God. Pray, and ask God to help you with your worry.

Notice that God isn’t just giving us “peace.” It’s the peace of God. When we bring our anxieties to God, we get to experience the same peace that God has, a peace that “transcends all understanding” and doesn’t make sense in our circumstances. God protects your heart from the worries Satan wants you to be consumed by.

5. 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.”

If you’re feeling discouraged, don’t let that drive you into isolation. And when those around you are discouraged, don’t let them retreat into loneliness. At times being alone can restore us, but as part of the body of Christ, we are called to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and lift each other up. We were made for community, and a healthy church is a source of encouragement, where we love each other and inspire one another to serve others.

6. I will fear no evil, for you are with me (Psalm 23)

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

    He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

    he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

    through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

    for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

    in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

    my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever.”

A shepherd leads, protects, and cares for sheep. As our shepherd, God steers us toward things that are good, and when he is with us (which is always), we don’t have to be afraid of anything.

7. Take heart! 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.”

Before Jesus was betrayed and taken to be crucified, he told his disciples what would happen in the days to come, when he would no longer be with them. He told them about the horrible things that may happen to them, but also the incredible gift that was coming to those who believed in him: the Holy Spirit, who would dwell within them. Most of all, he encouraged his disciples to continue trusting him and to remain in him (John 15:4).

In Jesus we can enjoy the gift of peace, knowing that whatever comes our way, we’re with someone who has overcome the world—and defeated death!

8. God cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

It’s easy to think our problems are too small and insignificant to be of any concern to God. But the reality is that the God who created the universe cares about you. So much so that he wants you to bring him your anxieties. Just as he calls us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), God takes our troubles on himself. And while our failures and challenges may be more than we feel like we can handle, God has an infinite capacity to swallow up our worry.

Through this verse, the God who created you is saying, “Why don’t you just let me worry about that?”

9. God 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.”

Sin often makes us feel as though we’re alone in our struggles. Shame lets us believe we are uniquely wicked for the temptations we face in our hearts and minds. But when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth—an ancient Greek city which had a reputation for depravity—he told them their temptation was simply part of being human. 

He also told them a secret about temptation: it will never be more than you can bear, and there’s always a way out.

When you’re in the middle of being tempted to sin, it can feel like it’s inevitable that you’re going to mess up. But that’s not the reality. There’s always a way out. It may not be easy. It might come with consequences. But if you look, it’s there, and you can overcome the temptation you’re facing.

10. 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.”

Throughout Scripture, God displays a pattern of demonstrating his strength when situations look most hopeless. When Gideon brought an army to fight the Midianites in Judges 7, God told him that there were too many men, so if they won the battle, no one would attribute that victory to the Lord—they’d give themselves all the credit. Through a series of steps, God brought their army of 32,000 down to 300. They won the battle handily, and God received all the glory.

Christ’s power can shine the most during our weakest moments, when we’re least able to depend on ourselves. Every moment of weakness is an opportunity for Jesus to reveal his power.

11. 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.”

Just after telling the Philippians that God’s peace will guard their hearts against anxiety (Philippians 4:6–7), Paul shares that this is the secret to being content in any situation. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are. If you bring your worries to God, he will empower you to be content, whether your needs are being met right now or not.

But you can’t do this on your own. To be content when times are hard, we have to rely on God’s strength, not our own. Thankfully, God can give us that strength when we come to him in prayer.

12. He is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18)

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Jesus was fully human and fully God. We often focus on the physicality of Jesus’ human nature. He slept (Matthew 8:24). He wept (John 11:35). He ate (Mark 14:18). But it’s easy to forget that Jesus was also tempted to sin. While Jesus was the only perfect human, he was “fully human in every way” (Hebrews 2:17), and he was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus never did sin, but because he was tempted, and he understands our weakness (Hebrews 4:15), he can help us when we’re struggling.

13. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9)

“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.”

When Moses died, there was a massive void in Israel. Who would lead them? How could anyone else fill those shoes? Joshua probably felt ill-equipped and discouraged, so God reminded him of the promises God himself had made to his people, pointing back to Deuteronomy 31:6.

With the tabernacle (God’s dwelling place), the Israelites uniquely enjoyed God’s presence in the ancient world. But as Christians today, we have something even better: we are God’s temple, and his Spirit dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). So God’s encouragement to the Israelites still rings true for us today—he will never leave or forsake us. Because of that, we can be strong and courageous.

14. For I know the plans I have for you (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.’”

This is one of the most popular verses in all of Scripture, and you’ll find it on countless pieces of Christian merchandise because of its encouraging message. But before we cling to these words, it’s important to reflect on where they come from.

When Jeremiah shared these words with the Israelites, they were facing one of the bleakest periods in ancient Jewish history: the Babylonian exile. King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed God’s temple and took many of the Jews as captives, forcing them to live among the Babylonians and embrace Babylonian culture. This period lasted 70 years, and most of the people who heard these words likely didn’t live to experience the fulfillment of God’s promise.

This is not a promise that soon your troubles will be over and God will make you successful and happy. It’s a promise that God is not the origin of our pain and that, in the end, God’s plan will work out for good (Revelation 21:1–4).

15. 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.”

Every day there are new opportunities to experience God’s mercy and compassion. It’s not always easy to see them when we’re feeling discouraged, but God is faithful, his love surrounds us, and he is intimately concerned with our wellbeing. And each day he demonstrates his love for us.

16. I will strengthen you 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.”

There are times when your circumstances and the uncertainty you face will cause you to be afraid. But God wants you to remember that he is always with you; as a result, you don’t have to fear those things. If a challenge seems too difficult for you, it might be. But there’s nothing that God can’t do. And he can empower you and help you overcome the obstacles you face.

17. God comforts us, so we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

“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 receive from God.”

Out of his love for us, God comforts us when we’re discouraged and anxious. As his vessels, we get to bring that same comfort to those around us. 

18. Let God worry about your needs (Matthew 6:27)

“Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asked his audience to look at the beauty and simplicity of creation around them. God clothes every flower in splendor and feeds the sparrows, even though flowers die quickly and sparrows are worth so little (Matthew 6:26–30).

He wasn’t downplaying the significance of the things we worry about. Jesus was reminding them (and us today) that worrying doesn’t change anything. Instead Jesus said to trust that God will meet our needs—the proof of that is all around us. When you or someone you know is struggling to get by, remember that as much as God loves the plants and animals he has created, he died for us because he loves us (John 3:16), and we can trust him to provide for us.

19. My God will meet all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul echoed Jesus’ words, using his own life as an example. Throughout his ministry, Paul was shipwrecked multiple times, beaten to within an inch of death, and constantly at risk of being killed. He also spent time in poverty with nothing to eat (Philippians 4:12–13). Because of these experiences, Paul knew God would meet his needs—and he could confidently promise that God will meet our needs too.

20. You are my refuge and my shield (Psalm 119:114–115)

“You are my refuge and my shield;

    I have put my hope in your word.

Away from me, you evildoers,

    that I may keep the commands of my God!”

When a child wants to feel safe, they run to the arms of an adult they trust or they run to a favorite hiding spot. The psalmist said that when we need safety and comfort, we can run to God, our great protector. Like a mighty fortress or an impenetrable shield, God can absorb the blows life deals us, and he can keep us from being overwhelmed.

You can trust God’s promises, and you can lean on his strength.

21. My help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121)

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

    where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

    he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—

    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,

    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

    he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

    both now and forevermore.”

There is never a moment when God doesn’t know exactly what’s going on in your life. He is always watching over you, waiting to help you. Whatever help you need, no matter how insignificant, you can simply ask—and the God who set the stars in place and created the heavens will hold you up.

22. 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.”

It can be discouraging when you don’t understand why something happened to you or someone you care about. The Bible doesn’t explain everything, but it does tell us what to do when we don’t understand something: trust.

Not everything makes sense. And even when we think something does, we can misunderstand what’s really going on because our own understanding is human and fallible. But if we trust God’s authority, wisdom, and power, we will know how to move forward in any situation, regardless of how far we can see down the road or where we think it’s going.

23. 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.”

Sparrows’ lives were of so little value that each was worth less than a penny. In fact, the parallel passage from Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 10:29) tells us that two were sold for a penny, and so Luke is revealing here that if you purchased four, one was thrown in for free. But God knows every single sparrow, no matter how little value they hold to humans.

And you are worth more than many of them.

God knows you better than you know yourself (you can’t even count the hairs on your head, let alone number and remember each one). And while that might seem like a trivial piece of information, the point Jesus is making is this: God knows you so well that no one can harm a hair on your head without him knowing. You are so valuable to the God who created you that he has taken the time to become intimately familiar with every detail about you.

Find encouragement in God’s Word

If you know where to look, the Bible is full of encouragement. Ask any Christian which passages they turn to, and you’ll likely find many more than what we’ve listed here. Whether you’re looking for encouragement for yourself or trying to uplift someone you care about, these passages are worth memorizing so your heart will be full of words that inspire and give hope.

Ryan Nelson

Ryan was a volunteer youth leader with Young Life for eight years. Now he teaches people about the Bible on OverviewBible.com. He lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife and three sons.