Overcoming Discouragement By Being ENCOURAGED

Do you know anyone who has not been discouraged?  It is a response to life’s challenges and there could be many.  Read Scripture!  Was there anyone who did not have times when they were discouraged?  You could be faced with financial pressures, health issues, feelings that you don’t measure up, unable to please others, being abused, unanswered prayer, a lack of recognition or a loss of confidence.  Even King David faced discouragement.

Psalms 42:11 – “Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again—my Savior and my God.

There are Christians who do not have a meaningful relationship with God.  They do not truly know Him, trust Him or believe in His promises.  When they become discouraged they may have no one to turn to.  They believe they know Christ and have a relationship, but they probably don’t.  It isn’t unusual to lack faith.  The Apostles were with Jesus three years and had a problem with faith.  They saw Jesus feed 4,000 and 5,000, raise the dead, heal the sick and when He calmed the storm, He stated, you of little faith.  Even after He was resurrected the Apostle Thomas said He would not believe until He could see Jesus and touch Him.  Are we any different?  How would you rate your faith?

The greater our faith the less discouraged we become and the more encouraged we are.  You may say that you believe in God.  Yet, even the demons believe in God.  James 2:18 – 19 – “But someone will say, ‘you have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

Faith does not come just by what we believe.  It comes by having a relationship with Christ.  Show me someone who has a close relationship with Christ who rarely reads their Bible and isn’t a consistent prayer.  Show me someone who has a relationship and yet continues to live as the world lives.  Are you ashamed of your Christianity?  Are you afraid to witness?  The answer can determine one’s degree of faith.

We must understand that a Christian’s love comes from our faith.  Faith and love go together and obedience follows.  Faith promotes love and love motivates obedience.  When they are functioning adequately they overcome discouragement.  When we become discouraged, it may start with a weakening faith, possibly a lack of love or just being disobedient.  Keep in mind the number of times Jesus said: Your faith has made you whole.  Had the sick not had faith would they have been healed?  Then shouldn’t a Christian overcome discouragement using faith?

If life doesn’t challenge us, God will.  We cannot live without facing problems.  We live in a world full of sin and ruled by Satan.  However, we do not have to live being discouraged.  Every problem that is solved and that we overcome is an encouragement that we can beat the next crises.  If you have the right relationship with Christ you know there will be nothing that you have to face on your own. You must understand that faith knows that whatever God promises He will do.  If you have the conviction and the faith to trust, you will never need to face anything by yourself.

If we are facing a serious situation what is the first thing we often do?  We try to solve it or get someone to help us.  What is usually the last thing we do?  If we can’t solve it we pray!  With the right relationship and faith the first thing we should do is pray.  What one thing do you learn when you read the entire Bible.  The ones written about are there because of their relationship to God or Christ.  How many of the religious Jewish leaders can you name mentioned in the Bible with the exception of the Chief Priests?  Only those who had a relationship with God are emphasized.

Matthew 17:16 – 20 – “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”  ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.’ Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’”

Lacking faith, as we noted, happens to most Christians.  Increasing faith is a process that comes with spiritual maturity.  If we are struggling with discouragement the Bible is the greatest encourager I know.  God loves us and His Spirit can be with us every second.  He is there to make sure that whatever we encounter He will get us through it.  If you lack faith and trust, you now realize it improves through a relationship with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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