Summary: This is sermon four of Facing Giants Series.
“Facing the Giant of Discouragement”
Text: Joshua 1:6-9
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Life is filled with many problems, challenges, and disappointments. The youth fundraiser didn’t go as well as we had hoped. The Bible Bowl team finished the tournament last despite our best coaching efforts. The job presentation did not receive glowing reviews despite all of our hard work and late nights of preparation. The report from the doctor was wore than we were expecting.
Thing happen that foil our best-laid plans. Often, we find ourselves let down and discouraged. Sometimes, it’s so bad that we just want to give up. Discouragement sets in and says, “Why bother? Nobody cares anyhow.” Despite the circumstances, discouragement doesn’t have to overwhelm us. We can learn from it, benefit from is, and overcome it.
What happens when people are discouraged? Some decide to give up. Others look to place blame. Still others use their discouragement as a slingshot to propel them to new heights.
*Facing Up To Discouragement.
Let me make something clear right here. John R. Cheycleur says, “Discouragement is not the same as clinical depression. Long-term depression is often the result of unacknowledged anger turned inward upon oneself. By contrast, discouragement comes from a conscious awareness of our lack of ability to overcome a difficult situation.” (end of quote)
When we are discouraged, our faith is often put to the test. When discouragement comes that is the time when we should reassess our goals and reevaluate our responses. In some cases, we will find that there were circumstances that were beyond our control-- like the weather, unexpected company, or the emergence of a misplaced bill. While things like these aggravate us, they need not overwhelm us. Remember, “ God is also the God of the unexpected.” He sees these things before we do and wants to use them to help shape us personally and spiritually for our own good. As Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Discouragement ought to be our first indication that it is time to pray. We often become discouraged because we get so busy and neglect prayer. Many believers are discouraged by life’s problems and have a lack of confidence that they can deal effectively with life’s toughest challenges. We need to call on God to help us understand His guidance in the midst of our circumstances.
*Underlying Causes of Discouragement.
There are three underlying causes for discouragement:
1. Lack of confidence in God.
2. Lack of confidence in ourselves.
3. Lack of direction for the future.
Joshua faced these same challenges when he led the children of Israel into the Promise Land. God told Joshua, “ Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:6). God reminded Joshua that the key to overcoming discouragement was a vital, personal relationship with Him. The Lord told him “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
*Keys To Overcoming Discouragement.
Once we really believe that God loves us and cares about us, we can begin to have confidence in His plan for our lives. The key is lining up our lives and our prayers with the wise and certain promises of God’s Word. When we quote the promises of God back to Him in our prayers, we are agreeing with what God has ready promised and reordering our lives accordingly. These seven key thoughts can help:
1. Ride out the storm. Some people never realize their potential because they are beaten down by the storms of life and give up too soon. We must not Quit.