Summary: Next in series on John. Examines ways to overcoming discouragement when serving while not being appreciated
John 5 (3)
Why are so many people, and especially young people unhappy? To site just one example Reuters Reported in 2019 that suicidal thinking, severe depression, and self-injury among college age people in the United States more than doubled in the last decade.
This trend is not limited to just America. Social commentator Kay Hymowitz recently wrote, “The Germans are lonely. The Bon vivant French are lonely, and even the Scandinavians are lonely. The British prime minister recently appointed a minister of loneliness.
People have more money, better health, better housing, more education, and are living longer than at any time in history, but people, especially the young, are unhappier than at any time since data began being collected. Why?
The biggest reason. There is a loss of value and meaning. The United States of America was founded on 2 sets of values; Judaeo-Christian, and American. This combination produced the freest, most-opportunity-giving, most affluent country in world history. This isn’t bragging. It is fact. That’s why people from every country in the world have wanted to immigrate here.
In previous decades, people looked out for each other. Clubs, and churches worked to meet the needs of the less-fortunate in their communities. These organizations provided fellowship. They provided comradery. They provided meaning.
Victory Frankl, an Austrian-American psychoanalyst, wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “aside from food, man’s greatest need is for meaning.”
And nothing has given Americans, or any other people for that matter, as much of a sense of meaning as religion. As Christianity.
Our values are under attack. For decades now we have been told that our nation has a bad and immoral history, like there is any nation in the world that has been sin-free and without mistakes along the way. Our children are taught that life is just the result of an accident, and that God is dead.
Today, 1/3 of millinneals affiliate with no religion. It’s even worse in Europe.
Is it any wonder so many are depressed and discouraged? And yet, Christianity, a relationship with Christ gives more meaning and has a greater positive impact on a person’s life than anything else.
In 2016, a study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association, Jama Psychiatry. It stated that American women who attended a religious service at least once a week, were 5 times less likely to commit suicide than those who don’t. One would think a similar impact would be present for men. (PragerU)
A relationship with our heavenly Father provides meaning.
A relationship with our Heavenly Father provides identity.
A relationship with our heavenly Father provides direction.
A relationship with our Heavenly Father provides accountability.
Open your Bibles this morning and turn with me please to the book of John. John chapter 5. John chapter 5 and this morning we are going to begin in verse 17.
- Read John 5:17-29
Think, if you will, of the opportunities Jesus had to be discouraged. He had just healed a man who had been paralyzed 38 years. What did He get in response? Was He appreciated by the man whom He healed? No, the man, more concerned about the leaders’ option than grateful to Jesus for his miraculous healing, went and told the leaders who had healed him.
Were the religious leaders grateful and excited that God had worked a miracle in their midst? No. They were concerned that their rules had been broken, their authority challenged, and their positions were in danger; so they began trying, according to verse 18, all the more to kill Jesus.
That could get discouraging. In addition, Jesus had no one around Him who was like Him that He could converse with on an equal level. He was surrounded by people who didn’t understand Him and who often worked in contrary purposes to His. He was surrounded by people who wanted something from Him all the time. What a draining, demanding situation.
How does one combat that? How does remain positive, upbeat, and moving forward in such a situation? First, you remember who you are are.
1. You remember who you are.
Although, according to Philippians 2:7, Jesus emptied Himself of many of His attributes, and abilities when He came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus knew Who He was at all times.
When Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples the mother of all questions, "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20). Mormons answer this question by saying that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer; Jehovah's Witnesses answer by saying that Jesus is the archangel Michael; New Agers say Jesus is an avatar or enlightened messenger. Jesus, however, answered by claiming that He was God.
Look there in verse 18.
- Read John 5:18