Summary: Are you tired of being discouraged? This is one of Satan's best weapon of spiritual warfare and it is unimaginable how many fall prey to it. The repercussions of discouragement can be devastating but the biggest benefit is that it confirms our need of God
Opening illustration: During the Boer War (1899-1902), a man was convicted of a very unusual crime. He was found guilty of being a “discourager.” The South African town of Ladysmith was under attack, and this traitor would move up and down the lines of soldiers who were defending the city and do everything he could to discourage them. He would point out the enemy’s strength, the difficulty of defending against them, and the inevitable capture of the city. He didn’t use a gun in his attack. It wasn’t necessary. His weapon was the power of discouragement.
Encouragement, on the other hand, can be a powerful friend. It strengthens the weak, imparts courage to the fainthearted, and gives hope to the faltering. One of the greatest ministries we can have is to lift the spirits of fellow believers.
Many Christians have become weary in their daily conflict with the evil one and are tempted to give up in their spiritual struggle. They need an encouraging word. Pastors and others involved in ministry need expressions of appreciation and the assurance of our prayer support. With discouragement taking its toll, they need encouragement to spur them on.
Introduction: Are you tired of being discouraged? Whether or not your situations change, you can experience joy, peace, and contentment. Circumstances don't have to dictate your emotions. You have someone on your side who is always available to help you, strengthen you, and uphold you.
Although discouragement is a form of attack from Satan (his greatest weapon of warfare), God can redeem any discouraging circumstances and bring blessing to a person who is discouraged as that individual seeks God for deliverance. The biggest benefit of suffering through a time of discouragement is that it confirms our need for God.
Discouragement can effectively produce deeper maturity in Christ, because through it God can destroy a believer’s delight in temporal things (see Philippians 3:7-11) and one’s confidence in human effort (see Romans 7:22-24). God has ordained that His strength be made perfect through our weakness. God told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Discouragement effectively exposes our weakness and should always motivate us to seek the Lord’s strength.
1. What causes discouragement?
Conflict within the family – Matthew 10:34-39
Giving God the 2nd place in your life – Luke 9:57-62
Not being content with God’s blessings – Numbers 11:4-6 (place of service, opportunities, talents/abilities, job/salary)
Satan’s greatest weapon – discouragement. Some of the greatest men in the Word of God were defeated because of being discouraged.
Illustration: Former heavy-weight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. "I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, 'I'm going to conquer Chicago.' "When I looked down, the suitcases were gone." When situations like these come in our lives suddenly and unexpectedly, what do we do? Sure, we get discouraged! What can happen and how we deal with it becomes very important.
2. What happens when we get discouraged?
We pray the wrong prayers:
a) Moses prayed to die – Numbers 11:10-15
b) Elijah prayed to die – 1 Kings 19:4
We say the wrong things: (impulsive in our speech and action)
a) Job said the wrong thing – Job 3:1-6
b) David said the wrong thing – Psalm 116:11
We begin to think the wrong things:
a) John while in prison – Matthew 11:2-6
b) Martha – John 11:39
We do the wrong things:
a) Moses smote the rock – Numbers 20:7-11
b) Elijah ran away – 1 Kings 19:3
c) We start meeting or acquainting with the wrong people. (Most common thing which most folks do is they surround ourselves with the wrong people)
We begin to see the wrong things:
a) Giants instead of God – Numbers 13:30-33
b) Difficulties instead of God’s power – Matthew 14:28-31
c) We need to have our eyes on the problem solver NOT the problem.
We end up in the wrong place:
a) Jonah in the belly of the fish – Jonah 1:17
b) Elijah under the tree – 1 Kings 19:4
We get into (yield) the wrong spirit: (Numbers 21:1-6)
a) Spirit of Defeatism
b) Spirit of Depression
c) Spirit of Murmuring