Summary: This is a message to help those who can relate to the spiritual hole described in Proverbs 18:14 “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”

Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement

Overcoming spiritual discouragement.

Text: Proverbs 18:14 “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”

In this message we want to try to explain the difference between soulish discouragement, and spiritual discouragement. They are similar and overlap, but spiritual discouragement is much more difficult and dangerous for the believer. The good news is that there is a handy cure for both, and we will get to that shortly.

Hebrews 4:12

There is a difference between your soul and your spirit.

There is a difference between your spirit and the Holy Spirit.

Dichotomy, trichotomy, fourchotomy, all I know is that there is only one of me!

If my flesh suffers I suffer.

First, lets see that the flesh and soul can suffer while at the same time the spirit is soaring:

1 Thessalonians 1:6. “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:” Notice Paul speaks of Affliction and at the same time Joy in the Holy Ghost.

I always thought affliction in this passage referred to physical suffering, which it may, but it may just as well refer to mental pressures:

thlip’-sis: is translated and used in the bible for: tribulation 21 times, affliction 17, trouble 3, anguish 1, persecution 1, burdened 1, to be afflicted 1; for a total useage of 45 times.

The definition is: 1) a pressing, pressing together, pressure

2) metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

In spite of all that, the Thessalonian Christians had joy in the Holy Ghost.

I wonder how they balanced those two different emotions?

We will call this kind of discouragement, soulish discouragement, the soulish (emotional) side of you is downcast, but the spiritual side of you is still upbeat. Another clear example of this is found in the book of Psalms where David records a conversation he had with himself: Ps 43:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God.” In this example David’s spirit is speaking to his soul and saying, “Come on, hang in there! God will again bring a smile to our face.”

Another example from the life of David can be found in 1 Samuel chapter 30, where after many things had gone wrong, we find this gem of spiritual insight: 1 Samuel 30:6 “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” You will notice David was greatly distressed and yet he encouraged himself. I believe the spiritual part of David picked up the soulish part of David that had been overwhelmed by discouragement.

Secondly, this morning I want you to notice that your spirit and soul are different, and that your spirit can lift you up when your soul is down, but if your spirit gets down than your troubles are greatly magnified.

Proverbs 18:14 “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”

The good news is that Jesus said that He would send the comforter to help us, and I think He specifically had in mind those times that we would be personally overwhelmed or discouraged. (John 14:16). We need to thank God the Holy Spirit is different from our spirit, for your spirit can be wounded, and Proverbs 18:14 makes clear that when that happens you are in trouble unless you have another resource available. Psalm 61:1,2 tells us of that source when it says: “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Notice David is praying that when his heart is overwhelmed he wanted to be led to a rock that was higher than he. That is exactly what the indwelling Holy Spirit is, the rock that is higher than I! So then when we are personally overwhelmed we can draw strength by calling out to God and asking Him to heal the brokenhearted. (Luke 4:20)

In this message we are talking about overcoming discouragement. Discouragement means that your courage has been taken away. Either by circumstance, trial, trouble, whatever, when you look inside yourself you see little courage left for the trial you are called upon to face. It is like going to your checking account and seeing the balance in red, you know you are in trouble. Psalm 61:1,2 points us in the right direction by simply reminding us that we are not limited as God’s children to our own resources, we have the help of heaven nearby.

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