Summary: healing for the discouraged
Intro: one subject that many preachers try to avoid is discouragement or depression. One of the reasons is simple: there are many super-saints that say it is a sin for a Christian to battle with discouragement or depression. As you read the Word of God you see Moses, Elijah, David, Paul and others battling discouragement or depression. So, tonight let’s look at the cause and the cure for depression.
The Cause and The Cure for Discouragement, or Depression
Background: this is the story of the Emmaus walk where Jesus joins two very discouraged young men who had put all their hopes in serving Jesus, and had all hopes dashed in the cross. We see three causes, and three cures in this story.
Before we study these points: let’s define discouragement and depression
Discouragement—deprived of courage or lost courage in any area of life
Depression—the pressing down of emotions, the burdening of the soul
We have all felt these from time to time, no matter how spiritual someone make come across, they at times feel these emotions.
I. The Cause-
a. lost fellowship---v.13-which was from Jerusalem-now I am not a professional counselor, and don’t have a degree in psychology, but here is one of the classic signs of discouragement and depression—withdrawal. These two men are leaving Jerusalem, with reports that Christ is risen, they are retreating. Over the years this seems to me to be a classic sign of depression, leaving the front lines, throwing in our spiritual towels, and breaking fellowship with other believers.
· Isolation is one of the first signs of depression, not wanting to make the effort anymore. Many times the devil won’t attack the entire flock, he will wait for a sheep to become isolated before he makes an attack on their soul.
· Independence—I will do this on my own, I will work it out by myself. Years ago, someone sang, me and Jesus got our own thing going, but in truth, this is a dangerous theology, the me-theology.
· V.15-and reasoned—these two young men weren’t fueling each other’s faith, but fueling each other’s fears. One of the reasons it is dangerous to get isolated from the flock of God, instead of building each other up, you start tearing each other down.
Ill) it is like girls at a sleepover watching scary movies, when the
Scary part comes on they don’t help each other, they all grab
each other and start screaming.
b. lost hope—v.21 we trusted that it had been he—another
cause of discouragement or lost of courage is when things didn’t happen the way I thought they should happen. Most of the time our discouragement is when God does things in a way that we didn’t think they would go.
· Many times the reason we are discouraged or depressed is when we can’t ever see things changing, we have lost hope that tomorrow will be any different than today.
· Lost hope causes the settling effect---I will just go back to the routines that I am familiar with: routines that are destructive ruts in my life. Most people who give into substance abuse get caught in this vicious cycle.
c. lost faith-v. but no one saw himv.24
as I read this story, and especially this verse, I see how discouragement blinds our eyes to our faith in God. Reports are being given Jesus is risen from the dead, reports are given the tomb is empty, but here is the response of discouragement, but no one has seen Him.
II. The Cure—opened Word, opened heart, opened eyes—we see three important parts of beating discouragement in our walk with Jesus Christ.
1. The Word was opened..
· Verse 31-32 three things were opened by Jesus that must be opened in our lives for us to beat discouragement and depression. The Word was opened in their lives. I see a very important point by Jesus, you are operating on feelings and emotions, and not the Word of God. The Bible is the stabilizer of our emotions. Many times it is the lack of the Word of God in our lives that cause us to be troubled in our spirit.
2. Their hearts were opened
· The Word of God opened their hearts, put a fire back inside them. This is a Biblical concept that the Word of God fills our Spiritual man, and without the Word the heart is empty. I see one problem in being a Pentecostal minister and that is that many people have very little stability in their lives who are all emotion based and not living their lives based on the Word of God.
· Discouragement closes the heart and steals fire out of our existence.
3.Their eyes were opened--
· Their eyes were opened—they knew it was Jesus-v.31 If discouragement does anything it causes us to close our eyes or not recognize the Lord. When we operate in faith we see clearly, when our eyes are opened by the Lord, we have vision for tomorrow.