Summary: In this message we will talk about how to overcome discouragement

Hey, What Are You Looking At?


Stuff from worship songs…

OKAY – last week we wrapped up a 4 week series called,

The last 4 weeks have been awesome as we have talked about…

• Reversing Anxiety (C.A.L.M.S.)

• Moving Beyond Insecurity (R.U.N.)

• Getting Over Our Hurt (B.R.AV.E.)

• Making Fear A Friend (F.R.I.E.N.D.)

I have had many people tell me that this conversations have been valuable to them and said I should keep it going, but I was like really firm on it being just 4 weeks.

THEN – on Tuesday morning I woke up at 4 am and could not get back to sleep…

AND SO – I got up… and for some reason, and I really could not nail down the source, I was feeling pretty discouraged and depressed… and I was like ‘Okay dude, you need to overcome this…

AND – I thought maybe overcoming discouragement is a conversation worth having…

WHICH – lead me to extending this series until Palm Sunday…

SO TODAY – we will talk about overcoming discouragement in a conversation I am calling… “Hey, What Are You Looking At.”

3/17 What You Looking At? (Overcoming Discouragement)

3/24 A Grace Disguised (Overcoming Loss)

3/31 I’m Not Tapping Out (Overcoming Temptation)

4/7 Getting Over Yourself (Overcoming Yourself)

OKAY – so let’s do this…

What You Looking At… overcoming discouragement

2000 years from a prison cell Paul wrote the following words…

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12,13

CIRCLE – those 2 words… “I can”



HAS - anyone in this room besides me, ever battled discouragement and disappointment?

IS – anyone battling it at this very moment?

DOES – anyone in this room believe there is a high probability that the waves of discouragement will crash against their lives sometime in the foreseeable future?

UNDERSTAND – every Jesus-follower has a calling. And the noise and lies of the enemy are designed to – interrupt, steal, de-rail, kill and destroy that calling.

OH – you don’t believe that you really have a calling?

He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

- 2 Timothy 1:9

In Christ you have a calling, a holy calling!!!

NOT – because of who you are, but because of grace.

NOT - a calling that is all about and for you, but that is all about and for His very own purposes.

AND LISTEN – the truth is…

IF - we ever are going to become who God created us to be… IF – we are ever going to accomplish the things that God planned in advance and called us to do… we will have to figure out how to overcome the onslaughts of discouragement.


Here is my definition of discouragement…

Discouragement - is the gap between what we expect and what we actually experience.

BOTTOM LINE – discouragement is this expectation gap…

AND LISTEN – discouragement can show up in countless ways…

• We want something, but we can’t seem to be able to get it

• OR we wanted something and we got it (a job, a relationship, an opportunity), but it did not turn out the way we thought or hoped it would.

• Discouragement can set in because of what other people say or don’t say. What they do or don’t do or because we tried something and failed

• It can be set off by something big or something small.

• Or by something big to you, but small to others.


• Discouragement can hit as hard when we’re winning as when we’re losing…

• Sometimes discouragement comes upon us like a flood and other times it is just this incessant drip of unmet expectations that never seem to go away.

BUT UNDERSTAND – regardless of how it arrives (and it will arrive. I mean, unmet expectations are inevitable in this fallen and broken world)…

Regardless of how it arrives – discouragement always displaces hope and leaves us feeling like this…

It’s not working, so what’s the point?

I MEAN – it is one thing to put in the blood, sweat and tears and see results… BUT – going through all of that…

WHEN - there seems to be no purpose or progress…

WHEN - nothing seems to have changed.

MGCC THIS – is the kind of environment where discouragement is both born and thrives.

It’s not working, so what’s the point?

YOU SEE – it’s not pouring ourselves out for a worthy cause that depletes and drains us.

NO – what depletes and drains us, is giving something (a job, a relationship, a ministry) everything we have - and ‘seeming’ to be getting nothing back in return.

YES – discouragement is this expectation gap…

AND – it so often makes you feel… like

It’s not working, so what’s the point?

QUESTION – have you ever feel that way about…

• Your marriage

• A relationship

• Your job

• Your ministry

• Your diet

• Your exercise plan

• Some goal

• A dream you’ve been reaching out to for years…


It’s not working, so what’s the point?

AGAIN - discouragement is the gap between what we expect and what we actually experience… and whenever find ourselves in this gap… WE – need to remember what God said though Paul in Philippians 4:13

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12,13


NOW – the way I want to attack and unpack this conversation is by taking about… The Reality and The Looks…


I. The Reality


Just like with – insecurity, fear, anxiety and hurt…

Discouragement is everyone’s battle…

AND – let me be real clear about a few things out of the gate…

#1 – feeling/being discouraged does not make you a spiritual wimp or light weight

#2 – feeling/being discouraged does not mean that you have denied your faith…

THOUGH – the is exactly the kind of lies your enemy is going to whisper into you ear…

• What kind of Christian are you, feeling so bummed out and discouraged.

• You must not really believe all that stuff you talk about and sing about.

• God could never use someone whose faith is so weak and easily…

Ever hear any noise like that?

BUT LISTEN – here’s the deal, you have been lied to…

BECAUSE – being and feeling of discouraged does not mean that God could never use you and do something significant, that matters through you.

AFTER ALL – some of the greatest people of faith that we find in the pages of Scripture battled discouragement.

The apostle Paul… who wrote ½ of the New Testament and who is arguably the most influential and effective Christ-follower who ever lived battled discouragement…

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about

(how awesome and fun everything has been for us…)

the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure,

and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. - 2 Cor 1:8,9

John the Baptist… battled discouragement.

John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus,

“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” – Matthew 11:2,3

UNDERSTAND - John the Baptist was living in the gap.

I MEAN – things were not adding up to Him.

LIKE – try to put yourself in his sandals…

Jesus, I announced your coming, that the prisoners and captives will be set free and that kingdom was at hand.

AND YET – here I am, your front runner locked up and chained in a prison cell, what gives… it does not add up.

It is not what I expected.

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” - Matthew 11:4-6

UNDERSTAND – God blesses those who remain faithful even while remaining in the gap.

The prophet Elijah had a massive bout with discouragement, after what was perhaps his greatest victory.

(2 Kings 18)

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah

(she posted on his Facebook wall, instagram, twitter page)

to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

RU kidding me… I expected that great victory to change things, but here we are, still.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.

He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” - 1 Kings 19:1-4

Another great man of God you probably heard of, King David often battled discouragement…

I MEAN - when we read this guys journal (the Psalms) we are like, ‘hey this guy needs some serious medication.’

UNDERSTAND - more than once David would cry out…

My soul is downcast within me… - Psalm 42:6

I am sooo discouraged, so bummed out

AND - it’s not surface level, it is deep…

The great military commander, Joshua battled discouragement… He led a great victory against Jericho and then he suffered and unexpected defeat at Ai…

Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!

- Joshua 7:7

Lord, it’s not working, so what’s the point.

AGAIN - discouragement is the gap between what we expect and what we actually experience.

II. The Looks

ALRIGHT – here’s the deal.

In the next few minutes I want us to look at some powerful weapons (biblical truth) that we can use to push back against the tide of discouragement…

AND LISTEN – here’s the truth.

IF – you walked into this room downcast, discouraged… feeling like it’s not working, so what’s the point.

GET READY – because if you open up your hearts and mind, if you have ears to hear and eyes to see…

YOU – will not be walking out the same way.

HEY – what you looking at?

A) Look Up

UNDERSTAND – when we are standing in the gap and are feeling the waves of discouragement begin to sweep over us…

OUR – first look needs to be to… look up…

That’s what David did…

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you… — Psalm 42:5,6

I will remember You… GOD – I will remember…

• who you are, your greatness,

• your goodness, your power and your promises!

NOW – in the Old Testament, in 2 Chronicles 20, we find one of my favorite stories these idea of looking up…

Brief backstory

• God’s people have been fighting for years

• They would fight a battle, hoping it would be the last one. only to be staring at yet another battle.

• And as this chapter opens up they get word that a massive army made up of several nations is on their way, to attack and destroy them.

• The King (Jehoshaphat) and the people are terrified and discouraged… Do you know what they did? they looked up

Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea… Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.

So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the LORD’s help.

The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard

He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! – 2 Chronicles 20:4-6


To beat back the waves of discouragement we need to look up and remember Him, Remember that…

• God is great

• God is good

• God is faithful God’s got this

• No one or nothing can stand against Him…


UNDERSTAND – whenever you are standing in the gap of discouragement – you need to remember that you are not alone and that your God is standing right there with you…

GOD – this is too big me (the army is too vast), but it’s not too big for you.

B) Look Back

NEXT – we need to look back and see the faithfulness of our God!

THAT’S – exactly what we see King Jehoshaphat doing as this vast army began to approach the city.

O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? – 2 Chronicles 20:7

Do you see what He is doing?

UNDERSTAND… everyone one of us in this room have an…

O our God, did you not…

• Get me through the divorce

• Deliver me from that financial crisis

• Give me that child after so many years

• Help move forward after my love died

• Pick me up when I feel

• Fill me when I was dry

YOU KNOW - one of the things I love about journaling is it enables me to look back and see the faithfulness of my God.


C) Look Out

We need to look out… because

Bad chatter corrupts good courage.

UNDERSTAND – our enemy will never stop chattering, speaking his lies over our lives

HOWEVER – we do not have to so make it so easy for him by inviting him into both our hearts and minds.

OKAY – here is what I am trying to say…

WE - need to look out and see if there are things that we are inviting into our lives that are feeding our discouragement…

ARE YOU – tracking with me?

YEAH – we need to ‘Look Out’ and identify what those things are… Identify anything that is putting the ‘dis’ in our courage.


• Are there some people’s voices you need to filter out (I mean, they just always seem to bring you down)

• What about TV/Books etc… that present to you unrealistic pictures of life.

• What about FB and instagram… like I have said so many times before… It is such a discouragement trap to constantly compare your behind the scenes life with everyone else’s highlight reels.

Understand comparison always leads to discontentment and discouragement…

On the other hand gratitude – is the discouragement killer…

I MEAN - gratitude is like, kryptonite to discouragement

AND LISTEN – some of us need to start being grateful again for blessings that God has given us and for prayers that He has answered, because now all we do is complain about those very things…


• We prayed for a child

• We prayed for a spouse

• We prayed for a home

And now we are complaining because… our spouse leaves his socks on the floor, or wants us to listen to how their days was, our child wants to play when we are watching the game and our needs cleaning.

LISTEN – some people would love to have a home, a child or a spouse

AND MGCC – one of the best to look out is to install the following filter into our hearts and minds, that Paul talks about in Philippians 4…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8


D) Look Beyond

YOU – need to Look beyond yourself…

Remember it’s really not about you to begin with.

UNDERSTAND – if all there is in this world is our little story, THEN - there will always be plenty of opportunity for discouragement.

BUT – when we remember that we are part of a much bigger story, an eternal story…

A STORY – that by the way, is doing quite well… There will be less opportunities for discouragement.

SO – in your discouragement, ‘Look Beyond.’

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – Philippians 2:4

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

SO – do you need some refreshing?


If and when you are discouraged… look beyond

FIND – someone that you can help.

UNDERSTAND – there are many people who have problems that will help us see, that our problems are not really as bad as we think they are.

AND LISTEN - it has been scientifically proven that people who volunteer and serve others on a regular basis are happier and more content then those who do not.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

– Acts 20:35

YES - we need to look beyond, because discouragement tends to makes us way too self centered….

NOW - that’s what God had Elijah do.

Remember he had that major bout with discouragement after his great victory on Mt Carmel…

WELL - God gave him time to rest, take a few naps… to hear his voice in a whisper…

AND HEY – let me be straight with speak some people in this room… You need to get some rest.

YOU SEE – the reason why everything seems to get you down so easily and so quickly is because you are so worn out and exhausted.

(QUESTION – do you think that Elijah was pretty spent after taking on 950 false prophets in to the death cage match)

SO – God had Elijah take a few naps, get some rest and God even had some food delivered right to him in the cave…

HOWEVER – after awhile God said…

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha… to succeed you as prophet.

– 1 Kings 19:13-18

IN – other words Elijah it’s time to look beyond yourself to other people and to your mission.

YOU SEE – often like Elijah in our discouragement we can forget that we have or we can become distracted from, our mission…

And as a Jesus-follower we have no great mission than to…

Seek the lost

(do you know any lost people who need Jesus)

Make Disciples

(is there someone that needs you to pour your life into them to help them become more like Jesus)

Show Compassion

Is there anyone that you could show compassion too?

Anyone who you could help?

We have a great opportunity… coming in just a few weeks.


E) Look Around


WHO - do you have around you, who do you have in your life…

THAT - is able to pour courage into you?

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

– Proverbs 27:17

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Eccl 4:9-12

Understand we have more than enough people ‘DISing’ our courage (discouraging us), what we need is more people in our lives who are ‘ENing’ our courage (encouraging us).

UNDERSTAND – this is why we have Life Groups…

SO – no has to do life alone.

YOU – can sign up for one on your connection card, or shoot me an email.

We need people in our lives who will encourage us…

AND – we need to be that encouragement to someone else.


When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.” - Acts? ?15:31? ???

F) Look Ahead


YOU – are not always going to be where you are…

AND - even when you are still where you are (like John the Baptist still being in prison)…

YOU DON’T - have to be… who you are, where we are…

YOU DON’T - Down, defeated, disappointed, depressed and discouraged.

AND – the key is to look ahead… because discouragement is not your final resting place.

UNDERSTAND - God may have plans for you that you know nothing about right now.

AND SO - that means at times that He may take you down paths that seem to be leading nowhere.

“What’s up, this is not what I wanted… expected. Like is this even leading me anywhere?”

BUT – listen, here is a truth we need to learn to embrace.

Don’t let what you expected keep you from what God wants you to experience.

YOU SEE - believing in God, means assuming that He is always working, even when our eyes can’t see, even when our faith and our prayers and our effort don’t seem to be working at all. (Romans 8:28)

AND BROTHERS AND SISTERS - realizing this opens up our hearts and minds to accept whatever God allows in each season of our lives

Without being overtaken by discouragement.

“OKAY GOD – I know that you are doing something, that you are always up to something. It’s who you are, like you can’t help yourself.

NO – I can’t see it right now.

AND NO – I am not feeling it right now.

LORD – there is so much I don’t like or understand right now. BUT – I know You. I know that you are good Lord, all the time. AND – I know that You are always up to something.

THAT’S WHY - I know that there is more going on here than just my discouragement.

SO – I will not let what I expect and want… keep me from experiencing what you want me to experience.”

MGCC – God is always up to something…

SO – (as I like to say)

Don’t quit on 6!

In Joshua chapter 6 we find God’s people walking around a mighty fortified city. For 6 days they marched around that city.

And the walls still stood.

On day 7 they walk around the city 6 more times.

And the walls still stood. Nothing had changed at all.

Not one stone had been loosened.

NOW – we know the rest of the story, but what if they would have quit on 6?

YOU KNOW - I wonder how many times we have quit on 6 and because we did, we missed out on what God was about to do.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

(let God define and trust Him for the harvest)…

IN – Hebrews 11 we meet some people who looked ahead…

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.

But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. – Hebrews 11:13-16

AND MGCC – as Jesus said John 14… He is at this very moment preparing a place (and what a place it will be) for us.

I know you are tired.

I know you feel like it is not working, so what is the point.

I know that gap is still there,

I know that what you are experiencing is not what you expected or wanted. But don’t quit on 6… because God’s 7, His harvest may be… Closer than you think.

OKAY – one final look

G) Look In

UNDERSTAND MGCC – you have some responsibility in this…

WHAT – I am trying to say is that you need to look inside – and ask God what you need to do (in here) (inside) to build a core that can withstand the winds and waves of discouragement that are certain to crash up against your life again.

I MEAN MAYBE – you need to make some commitments,


• Being in church every week

• Joining a Life Group

• Asking for help,

• Asking for prayer

• Going to a ladies Bible Study

• Reading your bible and spending time building your relationship with God (2215)

(2nd and 4th Wed beginning 3/27)

• Removing things from your life that often lead to discouragement

• Serving in the church

• Going to a men’s Dgroup that me and the elders have

SO – what you looking at?

Look up

Look back

Look out

Look beyond

Look around

Look ahead

Look In

HEY – in case you are wondering what happened in 2 Chronicles 20… here’s is how it when down.

The King and the people have stood in the Temple looking up, and looking back….

AND - Jehoshaphat continues his prayer…

Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us…

O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”

As all the men of Judah stood before the LORD with their little ones, wives, and children, the Spirit of the LORD came upon one of the men standing there… He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says:

Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them…

But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!”

Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the LORD. 1Then the Levites… stood to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.

Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever!”

2 Chronicles 20:9-21

AND SO – they marched out to face what had them so terrified and discouraged…

• AND – as soon as they began to sing God began to move

• HE – caused those armies from different nations to turn on and fight each other, completely destroying each other

• AND SO – when Israel came to the place that overlooks where the battle was to take place

• All they saw were dead bodies everywhere.

• It Judah 3 days to gather up all of the plunder

On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the LORD there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.

Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the LORD had given them victory over their enemies. They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the LORD. – 2 Chronicles 20:26-28