Summary: Just as an intoxicated person will exhibit certain characteristics, even so, those who are spiritually discouraged will exhibit some disturbing responses to life.


Text: Num.13: 21-25; Deut.1: 24-28

Intro: Discouragement is certainly no stranger to any of us. It is a malady that plagues everyone at some time or the other. As a matter of fact, one might even say that occasional discouragement is a natural part of being human.

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional bout of discouragement. But no one should live that way on an ongoing basis.

However, my point today is not to deal with the psychology of emotional discouragement. I want to talk about what I call spiritual discouragement.

Spiritual discouragement is different from emotional discouragement in that it is directly related to one’s relationship with the Lord. It will however, always go hand-in-hand with emotional discouragement. In many cases, one is the cause of the other.

When a person is emotionally discouraged, it is usually because of unfulfilled expectations—things simply haven’t worked out like they expected. The same thing is true of spiritual discouragement. The exception being that the disappointments lies with one’s expectations of God, and His handling of a particular situation or situations.

Today I want to examine some things that spiritually discouraged people do. I want to look at their mindset, and more importantly, their spiritual condition.

Let’s examine how disastrous spiritual discouragement can be to the Christian.

Theme: Spiritually discouraged people:


A. This Is Evidenced By What They See.

1. They don’t linger on the positives.

Num.13: 26 “And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.

27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.”

2. They are long on the negatives.

Num.13: 28 “Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.


32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

NOTE: [1] The words, “they brought up an evil report” basically means that the ten negative spies “…started a campaign of evil-speaking against the two faithful men” (Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, editors, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 131).

[2] It has always puzzled me that though the ten spies saw the Promised Land was just as God had predicted it would be, they could not seem to see that victory was already theirs, since God had promised to “…be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries” (Ex.23: 22).

[3] I don’t believe that just because someone believes something, that that makes it so. But there is something to be said for having a positive attitude; especially when God has made a promise.

As much as 77% of everything we think is negative and counterproductive and works against us. People who grow up in an average household hear “No” or are told what they can’t do more than 148,000 times by the time they reach age 18. Result: Unintentional negative programming.

Shad Helmstetter in Homemade, Jan, 1987.

[4] Thank God, not everyone lets the negatives of life keep them from accomplishing what God wants them to do.

On June 18, 1999 Gary and Gloria Sloan, Southern Baptist missionaries, who had been on the field of Mexico only six months, were enjoying a birthday celebration for their daughter, Carla, at a popular swimming spot on Mexico’s Pacific coast. With them were two other young missionaries from the United States, Joy Murphy and John Weems.

Due to a strong undertow, Carla began to be pulled out to sea. Gary Sloan and the other two missionaries rushed to save eleven-year-old Carla, but were overcome and drowned, as did she.

When Carla’s body was brought to shore, Gloria doubled over in agony, unable to breathe. But it was then that she felt the physical presence of Jesus. Gloria said, “I felt such a strength and power and control. I looked down at my daughter, and I had such a peace” (The Commission, a publication of the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, pg. 29).

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