No 2 From Discouragement to Encouragement
Millions of people are “discouraged” for various reasons. Even great numbers in the Church have discouragements. Because many thing go wrong it affect us inwardly a outwardly. We begin to loose hope, some of us even sublimate and go back to our old ways of living. The heart is taken out of us and there seems no hope of escape. We become downcast, disillusioned or downhearted. Peoples souls faint in them, and their spiritual lives that were once exciting and exuberant become a drudge, a misery. They do not desire to serve the Lord or work in the Church any more, they just want to take aback seat and watch and listen. They are paralyzed by discouragement, and live a life of defeat. They find it hard to get back into the race, back into the battle. The soul is in mourning for the life that once was. To many it is futile to go on and some are even tempted to commit suicide. Thee is an inner conflict that tares us apart. Is it normal to b discouraged? Should Christians not always be rejoicing and happy? Is there any hope? Have to got to the place in your life when you wonder is it worth going on? Thank God the Bible is a very real book and gives records the difficult times in a believers life.
Great Men of God Were Discouraged
Discouragement has been in existence from Genesis (the beginning of all things) and can be found in many people throughout the Bible. The Devil has learned to attack the minds of people, making them discouraged and ultimately depressed. It is his goal to entrap people and discourage them.
Moses got discouraged when the people moaned and complained in the wilderness. He was discouraged when he came down the mountain and saw his people dancing naked around a golden calf.
Elijah felt alone and discouraged, “I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (19:10). He sat down and wanted to die. When God came to him again in the still, small voice and again asked why he was there in discouragement, Elijah gave the same dejected answer: “I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (v. 14).
But God had an answer for that, too! He revealed to Elijah, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (v. 18). He became tired and discouraged after accomplishing a major project God went on to prescribe rest and food to help him from being discouraged. The cure was spiritual a word from God and practical rest and eating in order to get his body and mind back to into good shape.
David was discouraged in his youth because Saul was hunting him down to kill him. But God sent Jonathan to encourage him.
David became discouraged because of his sin with Bathsheba and went into a state of depression and which affected his body psychosomatic illness. The cure to his discouragement lay in confession of sin (Ps.51).
David was discouraged over lack of support from others, “my spirit was overwhelmed within me” (v. 3). He says, “Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul” (v. 4). He also said, “Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I” (v. 6). On this occasion, David was discouraged by the lack of support from his fellow man. But he found help and encouragement in God. He is encouraged that God would never forsake him. He cries out to God with the confident assurance, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (v. 5). While others may have abandoned him in his time of need, David knew that God would always be with him. God promise the believer never to leave nor forsake them (Heb. 13:5). If you are ever discouraged because it seems like your closest friends have abandoned you in times of trouble, just remember this promise God has given.
David was discouraged when he said “my soul cleaves to the dust.” He then asks the Lord “revive me according to thy word.” (Ps. 119:24-25. “My soul weeps because of grief. Strengthen me according to thy word.”
David was going through a very difficult time, a time of great discouragement when he had found his city burned, and his wives stolen, and he and the men with him had wept until they had no more power to weep; and when his men, exasperated at their misfortunes, spake of stoning him, then we are told, But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God; and the result was a magnificent victory, in which all that they had lost was more than restored to them. He had faith lays hold of the omnipotence of God.
The two on the Emmaus Road were discouraged until the Lord drew along side and revealed himself to them. The answer to their discouragement was becoming aware of the presence of the Lord.
Paul was discouraged because he was rejected by believers when he got saved and Barnabas drew alongside and encouraged him.
What is Discouragement?
It is a loss of courage, a feeling of despair in the face of obstacles; or a state of hopelessness and loss of sense of enthusiasm, drive or courage. The act of discouraging, causes someone to be in the state of being discouraged; depression or weakening of confidence; dejection. It can lead to depression, dejection, hopelessness. It hinders your progress in life puts a damper on things. I have gathered together from other sources causes of suffering.
Causes of Discouragement
Discouragement can come from many areas. Following are some of them.
1. It can come when you are doing your best in the marriage. You re trying your best to please your spouse but they keep ignoring you or taking you for granted
2. It can come when you work hard to keep your home looking well, you do your best but no one seems to notice or they just make a mess as soon as you have finished your hard work.
3. Fatigue can cause discouragement because you are physically or emotionally exhausted. Your defences are lowered and you are too tired to think straight. At this time the darkness of discouragement comes upon the soul. You are not getting an accurate picture of the situation. This often occurs when your have been working to hard and get tired. The answer to this kind of discouragement is to eat right, get rest, don’t overwork. Use self – control. Remember Elijah?
4. Discouragement can come from the business or workplace. You may not get the acknowledgement you should. Someone may have stolen from you in business or refused to pay what they owe. It may be that you have been taken advantage off.
5. Discouragement can come because of frustration. You may become frustrated when someone does not change and keep on making the same mistake. It can come when you are overwhelmed with misunderstanding or when work is piling up, or when one thing after another goes wrong in the home or with the car. You want to go out or want to accomplish a task and someone comes to visit just at that moment. “Bring into captivity every thought…” Don’t allow your thoughts to run amuck. Resist discernment choose to take control of your the urgists don’t lean on your feelings.
6. It can come when your spouse is having an affair. At such times you need love, friendship and good counsel.
7. Your have been trying for a baby and get pregnant only to suffer a miscarriage.
8. It can come because of poor health, loss of a job, sinking into poverty, and loss of a loved one.
9. Discouragement can come because of failure. You may have worked hard at a project and it collapse. It may be because the Shares market has affected your pension or the government have failed you. You may have organised an event but very few show up. You may have to start a new project, reorganise your life or try a new approach.
10. Discouragement can come because of fear. Fear of people, fear of failing, fear of criticism, fear of the future.
Some Signs of Discouragement
1. Sleeplessness – the mind and soul is full of worry.
2. Restlessness – Absent mindedness sets in and weariness results.
3. Complacency – Loss of interest in food even though you might not have eaten for hours.
4. Negative Thoughts – The ultimate of this are thoughts of suicide.
If you are feeling the pangs of discouragement and feel helpless in the situation, we encourage you to seek help through counselling.
Discouragement and Spiritual Opposition
Discouragement can happen with new Christians who enter into the new life and have a wonderful outlook, new discoveries and then the settle down and lose their enthusiasm. They loose the thrill of the early simple faith when they believed God could do anything. It is all gone and one becomes discouraged. Many have been discouraged because of a church split. Others because false teaching came in the church and it seems no one is doing anything about it. Many drop out of the Christian race, the spiritual battle and settle into a church, into a routine and don’t want to be bothered any more with spiritual ministry. Then there are those who get discouraged because a trial comes into their lives and the obstacle seems impassable. Some become discouraged because of a health problem or bad news. And brilliant prospects. If discouragement is allowed to continue it leads to despair and may result in a suicide attempt.
Spiritual Discouragement is an obstacle that we encounter and we must learn how to deal with spiritual opposition. Opposition and attack on ones faith can come in so many ways. We need instruction and to be spiritually prepared to confront and overcome the challenges to their faith. We will see in the lives of some of God’s saints how they overcame the problem.
Ridicule and Criticism Can Cause Discouragement
Nehemiah 4:3. When Tobiah mocked Nehemiah, and attacked him with words of discouragement when Tobiah said, “What they are building, if even a fox climbed up on it he would break down their wall of stones.” Negative talk from others can affect our faith. People can be cruel and discouraging. They make snide remarks to pull you down. The devil takes up people to use them to pull down your faith by ridicule and criticism. You may be doing well spiritually then he attacks and will take the wind out of your sails by critical, insulting words. If you have ever taken a stand for your faith you probably encountered this. People mock you, abuse you, use you, call you stupid for believing the Bible. We hear the world say, “You Christians say that Christ is the world’s hope. They make fun of you and call you naive. Leaders just like Nehemiah face discouragement when they want to go forward and see Gods kingdom extended. They face criticism from people inside and out side the church. Some leave leadership or refuse to become a leader because they know the criticism that comes with it. Some people do not want to advance and hinder the leader by criticism. The top three reasons for leaving the ministry were listed as disillusionment, burnout and resigning over a stressful situation. They become discouraged over the nature and the condition of the church. They feet it wasn’t worth it and stops believing in what they were doing.
Vs 4 The man of God took it to the Lord “Hear us O our God for we are despised.” He appealed the One who is higher than all. He was Gods child and went to His Father for help. It was the work of the Lord he was doing, and he asks God for help. He was not going to let people or circumstances bring him to despair or discouragement. Nothing or no one was going to stop him from carrying out the will of God. God, would defend His cause. “Now judge them because they provoked you to anger.”
Vs 6 “so we rebuilt the walls till all of it reached half its height.” The people had a heart to work. They didn’t listen to the destructive criticism. They didn’t listen to the negative comments. People often speak without thinking through the situation or the consequences. We can discourage others by what we say. So often we are not aware of all the facts and make lose comments. It is better to put a guard on your tongue. .
Discouragement – The Solutions
The Lord Jesus Christ came to deliver us from sin, Satan and death. He wants to encourage us. Scripture records the wickedness of men, such wickedness we see in or world can discourage us. When people use their tongue for character assignation it discourages us, when people steal from others it can discourage us, greed lies, deceit fighting’s in the Church, Church splits discourage us. Those who call themselves Christians but do not show it in their daily lives discourage us, pride selfish people discourage us. To discourage is to have your courage smothered or removed, it takes away your courage and confidence, it eats up your energy. It is to be negative. A discourager throws cold water on our ideas. A discourager sees all your faults and will tell you them all. A discourager will puncture your faith with his sharp words of doubt and fear. When you encounter too many difficulties you may get discouraged.
The list is endless In this life we will have trails and challenges, we are to live right, keep our minds and hearts clean and faith in God that he will work it all out according to His plan. If we keep a balance and self-discipline ( a fruit of the spirit) we can have a happy and contented life. He will be with us in all circumstances. We will pass through some situations and trials that can cause discouragement bring the situation to the Lord. He will help you overcome. Some people just love shattering your hopes and dreams. Some are always moaning and complaining. If you continue to keep company of such people they will discourage you. They are always seeing problems or have problems. They will bring you into confusion and despair. The pessimists. They see a light at the end of the tunnel and say it’s a train. They say if anything can go wrong it will. To them every day is filled with problems. They always see the bad but never the good.
To encourage is to give courage, confidence or hope. It stimulates by help. It promotes, urges and assists one to go on. The encourager does this. He enthuses with a positive attitude.
Your Attitudes Affect Your Spiritual and mental Health
Do you ever get discouraged in the spiritual warfare? Do you ever think it would be better not to follow the Lord? Do you feel like giving up? Are the enemies you face to big for you to defeat? Do you ever think to yourself, why bother there is no use in fighting we are being defeated or they are all hypocrites? The people of Israel felt discouraged and Moses tried to encourage them.
Morale can get low in a Church, among a group of people, in your own soul and you cry like king David, “Why art thy cast down within me O my soul” but he quickly went on to encourage himself “awake thee and praise the Lord.” We must not forget all the benefits and blessings of the Lord. At that time your morale must be lifted, you need positive words of encouragement not negative words that discourage.
Today you will make a choice of attitude. The right attitude will be like a rudder in a ship directing you in the right direction. It will guide you away from the past bad attitudes and dangers of discouragement. It will help you in your spiritual life, in choices, regarding how to be proactive instead of reactive. It will feed your faith in the living God. You will go forward and defeat the obstacles and put to flight the discouragers. You will not let the defeatist language of others bring you down. You will not let your circumstances dictate your life but rather take control of your own life through the Holy Spirit. Never give up Jesus didn’t. When circumstances seem like a mountain or a Goliath before you go forward in the strength of the Lord. Have faith, the battle is the Lords. Live in His victory. Your attitude will fire your encouragement.
Many of us live in the past thinking of all our failures and were we went wrong. Leaving the past behind and press toward the mark, namely Christ Jesus. Confess any sin and ask the Lord to fill you a fresh with His Spirit. Don’t give the ogre of discouragement a foot hold. When we look at the Lord, and the courage He had as He went to the cross to die not only for us but in our place, that encourages us. Trust in Him, have faith in the promises of His Word it will gives us courage out of us. It is impossible to name the multitude of things that can discourage us but amazing how we can overcome by our faith in the living God. Think of Hebrews 11 all of the people they could have been dragged down and given up because of discouragement but they endured, Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible.