Summary: Ways to overcome challenges and keep enjoying life.
We’re beginning a new series today on Loving the Life You Live.
Don’t you love those times in life when you are really enjoying God’s blessings and experiencing God’s joy? Don’t you just love it when you love the life you live?
Then there are those other times, times when life is challenging, when it’s drudgery and hard work. When you have to search for happiness.
It is commonly reported that depression affects 16-18 million Americans each year! We’re not talking about a rainy day feeling; we’re talking about a serious condition.
It ought to concern all of us that so many people have a difficult time enjoying life. And we don’t need to judge depressed people. Any number of things can weigh a person down to the point that they lose hope. And even those of us who aren’t depressed have to admit that there are times when we struggle with maintaining happiness.
The good news is that God’s Word gives you insights into your human condition and offers you tremendous help to deal with your battle to stay encouraged!
The Scriptures teach that God intends for you to enjoy life! You don’t have to let life’s challenges overwhelm you. God wants to help you face life with confidence and enthusiasm! He wants you to be encouraged and He wants you to experience a happy life!
I’m not preaching that you won’t experience any trouble if you follow Christ. I’m saying God wants to help you stay encouraged in spite of your trouble.
There are many verses of Scripture that teach that God wants you to have joy and enjoy life. Let me remind you of a couple. We could read many others.
"God…richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17b (NLT)
You don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying God’s blessings. That’s what He gives them to you for!
And in John 10:10 (NLT), Jesus said, "I came to give life -- life in all its fullness."
If we’re going to experience God’s joy and fullness we’re going to have to overthrow the things that compete for our love for life, things like doubt, fear and guilt.
So we’re going to open this new series today on "Loving the Life You Live" by first of all learning what the Bible says about "How to Encourage Yourself."
I want to talk to you over the next several weeks on issues like believing in yourself and forgiving yourself and loving yourself but we’re going to begin by learning how you can encourage yourself in God.
Today we’re just going to lay some foundational principles, some general principles on Loving Life. It starts with being able to handle the rough spots. What do you do when dark days confront you? How do you stay encouraged?
Perhaps no one in the entire Bible is a greater example of being able to encourage himself in God than David. When you read some of his Psalms you are amazed that he starts writing a song while he’s discouraged and ends the same song encouraged! He learned how to see the light in dark days.
We’re going to check out a few pages of David’s biography from a time when it was hard for him to love life. We’re going to consider one particular incident when mega-stress confronted David, one day when problems piled up even before solutions to his previous problems presented themselves.
Let me set the stage for you. David is running from his own King, Saul, who is envious of him, hunting him down to kill him. Saul is so eaten up with envy and paranoia that he mistakenly thinks David is trying to steal his throne. So he tries to take David’s life on several occasions.
David has to flee to the nation of the Philistines, enemies of Israel, where he and his soldiers fight for the Philistines as mercenaries. But one day the Philistines go to fight the Israelites and David and his army are sent home. When they arrived at their temporary home in Ziklag they find that the Amalekites, a band of marauders, have raided their town, burnt their homes to the ground and taken their wives and children hostage.
David and his men were already tired and hungry. They thought they were coming home to the welcome and warmth of their families, to rest and food, but instead, they come home to a shocking scene of emptiness, desolation and loss. These strong warriors, these grown men, were so overwhelmed by their sorrow that the Bible says,
"Then David and the men with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep." 1 Samuel 30:4 (Amp)
Man was that ever a sad day! It was a bad day. It was hard to love life on that day. These strong men cried until they couldn’t cry any more.