Summary: We all get discouraged and feel like quitting – we lose our motivation, confidence and optimism. I have good news for you this morning: discouragement can be defeated!
JOKE: When our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the truck, the car, playing golf - always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway." The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.
Did you bring your Bibles today? Let’s start out with God’s Word!
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6).
I have good news for you this morning - the good news is that discouragement can be defeated! We all get discouraged and feel like quitting – we lose our motivation, confidence and optimism.
How do you know if discouragement is about to happen in your life? #1 way – you’re at the halfway point, the point of no return. (Marriage, transition)
INTRO TO NEHEMIAH:
The Bible is a great manual for how to overcome things
We’re going to look at Nehemiah, who had a bunch of discouraged people around him and he himself was discouraged.
THE STORY OF NEHEMIAH: (From Nehemiah 4:1-15).
“1 Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!”
- Sanballat was the bad guy who wanted the Jews to fail
- Whenever you start doing something, you’re not going to make everyone happy
- Sanballat’s lies – there was nothing feeble about the Jews. Don’t believe the enemy’s lies!
6 At last the wall was completed to half its original height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard. * See – they had reached the halfway point
7 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall were being repaired, they became furious. 8 They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and to bring about confusion there.
- The enemy gets angry when we get plugged into God and do what He wants us to do, so he brings discouragement
9 But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. 10 Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired. There was so much rubble to be moved that we could never get it done by ourselves. 11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.” 12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!”
- They were discouraged – losing courage. From enemies and friends!
- But you need to recognize when you’re discouraged so you can deal with it!
SYMPTOMS OF DISCOURAGEMENT:
1. Fatigue: Verse 10 says they were tired. Physical symptom.
2. Frustration. They began to see themselves as failures. “There was so much rubble to be moved, we could never get it done by ourselves.” Mental symptom.
3. Fear. 2 Tim. 1:7. Spiritual attack. Verse 8: the enemy came to bring confusion.
HOW TO DEFEAT DISCOURAGEMENT:
*You may not need this now, but one day you will face discouragement. When you do get discouraged, you will know what to do!
“13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the leaders and the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!” 15 When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall.”