Sun, 2019-12-15 12:39
Recognising & Resisting Discouragement
Discouragement is one of the enemy’s most effective weapons against the people of God. He has used it successfully against multiple individuals over many generations, and he still uses it strongly today.
Psalm 42:5–6 (NLT) 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 6 my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.
It is thought that Psalm 42 was written by King David. Even though he was a strong and courageous leader, he still experienced discouragement in his life from time to time.
Every human being will experience discouragement at various points in their life. But we need to realise that satan specifically targets Christians with this subtle weapon:
- To discourage us in our faith walk
- To dis-empower & disable us
- And ultimately get us side-tracked into fruitlessness
Whomever the devil can’t take down with temptation, sin or deception, he will try to immobilize them with discouragement and hopelessness.
Discouragement is like a virus. If we allow our heart to become infected with this virus, it will eventually spread into every area of our life.
Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
(NCV) … It is sad not to get what you hoped for …
Discouragement is a natural response and reaction to unfulfilled dreams & expectations, to disappointments and set-backs.
It’s devastating effect is compounded when we allow the enemy to reminds us of our disappointments over and over again, to keep re-living negative experiences time and time again.
There’s a typical progression towards discouragement. People become:
- Deflated (having suddenly lost confidence or optimism)
- Despondent (in low spirits from loss of hope or courage
- Discouraged (lost confidence or enthusiasm – disheartened)
Proverbs 4:23 (AMP) Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
Discouragement is an attack against our heart, since our heart determines the course of our life.
The Israelites became discouraged and spoke against God and against Moses:
Numbers 21:4–5 (NKJV) Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
The people forgot about God’s good plan to take them into the Promised Land.
They also began to question the motives and integrity of their leader Moses.
Discouraged people can lose their grip on reality very quickly.
Instead of being grateful to God and to Moses for delivering them from slavery, they started griping and complaining.
When the virus of discouragement had infected their heart, it turned gratitude into ungratefulness, and words of appreciation were replaced with complaints.
Proverbs 15:4 (LB) Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.
Acts 7:39 tells us that they turned back to Egypt in their hearts.
The enemy’s ultimate goal of discouragement is to not only hinder you from progressing in your faith journey, but to motivate you to go back.
How to move from discouragement to encouragement:
Psalm 42:5–6 (GW) Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise him. He is my savior and my God. 6 My soul is discouraged. That is why I will remember you in the land of Jordan, on the peaks of Hermon, on Mount Mizar.
David recognized what was going on. He knew that discouragement was trying to grip his heart. So he began to speak to his soul and told himself:
- Come on soul, put his hope in God
- Come on soul, let’s praise God
- Come on soul, lets remember the Lord
(Msg) When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you …
He decided to remember God, and he spoke of the peaks of Hermon.
He told himself: David, look up, look away from yourself and your disappointments, and look to God.
In Isaiah 61:3 God promised that He would give us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
For discouragement to have its full intended effect in our lives, the devil gets us to focus on ourselves, and trick us into thinking that it’s about us.
Discouragement is a feeling! Instead of being led by the Spirit of God, many Christians allow the feeling of discouragement to lead them.
Exodus 6:8–9 (NET) I will bring you to the land I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord!’ ” 9 Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and hard labor.
Discouragement will position itself between you and God, and block any revelation that you need to move forward in life.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (NAB) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, 4 who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
To beat discouragement in your own life, find somebody else who is discouraged, and encourage them with the encouragement that you have received from the Lord.