Summary: How to keep discouragement from becoming defeat.
Discouraged, Not Defeated
It is easy to become discouraged. Our world situation - Economy, war, terrorism, unemployment, mortgage crisis, crime. Our personal situation - Family problems, employment problems, physical problems. Our church life - Christians fall away, harsh words, disappointment, personal failures.
Bible Characters Faced Discouragement. Noah preached for years and only 8 were saved! Moses came down from Mt Sinai only to find the children of Israel worshiping a golden calf.
Some people cave in to discouragement and it leaves them defeated. Are you discouraged? Yes, sometimes. Are you defeated? Christians are never defeated until they decide to be defeated!
WHEN DISCOURAGED, PRAY! When we abandon prayer we abandon hope. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”. The problems we face often look smaller after prayer. Jeremiah 20:7-9 “O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Prayer will kindle the heart when we are weak with discouragement. Let times of discouragement lead you to pray, not to give up. Matthew 8:5-8 “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” The Centurion could have given up, reacted with fear – but instead was moved to act in faith.
WHEN DISCOURAGED, TRUST. Our plans for overcoming discouragement often fail. Robert Schuller offered these five strategies that are sure to fail when discouraged:
Wait (for it to go away on it’s own)
Ruminate (over all the failures and problems in your life)
Procrastinate (the things you know would help the situation)
Legislate (tell others what they ought to do)
Grate (get on everyone else’s nerves)
Faith is for the tough times, not for the easy times. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Hebrews 13:6 “So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” When discouraged we need to re-invigorate our faith with the promises of God. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
WHEN DISCOURAGED, FORGIVE. How often is it that our interpersonal relationships are causing discouragement? When we will not forgive (Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”) We remember for years what God has forgotten for years.