Summary: This sermon examines the consequences and God’s cure for discouragement.
Have you ever been through a time when life lost its fun? We are going to look at a man who lost the fun of life. He was not an ordinary man. He was one of God’s choice servants. He was a great man of faith. His name was Elijah. He was one of the great prophets in the Old Testament. He was present with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. He was not a spiritual novice. Elijah had had some great spiritual mountain top experiences.
- In a confrontation with the prophets of Baal he had prayed for a drought as a judgment of God. The drought was given in response to his prayer. (See I Kings 17:1-7)
- In I Kings 17 we find where he raised a dead boy back to life.
- In I Kings 18 we find where he single handedly defeated 450 prophets of Baal.
He knew what it was like to go to the mountain top of faith. He knew victory. However, when we read his story in I Kings 19 he is discouraged. He is tired. Some people see this as an example of burn-out. Elijah prayed "that he might die, and said, ’It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’ "No matter what you call it, Elijah was not having fun. I want to lead you in examining this crisis. We will do a simple two point sermon. We will examine the consequences of discouragement. Then, we will examine the cure for discouragement.
I. Notice the consequences of discouragement.
A. When you get discouraged your faith seems to fail you. In verses 1-3 Elijah has an encounter with Jezebel. Normally such an encounter would have been a breeze for him. However, not this time. His faith seemed to have disappeared.
We find other such examples in the Bible.
Example: David’s faith seemed to have failed him in a moment of sexual temptation.
Example: Noah’s faith seemed to have failed him in a struggle with alcohol.
Example: Peter’s faith seemed to have failed him in a time of denial, as Jesus faced the cross.
Joke:This is what happened to a Texas minister who was scheduled to speak at an all-day conference. He was running late because his alarm had failed to ring. In his haste to make up for lost time, he cut himself while shaving. Then he found his shirt was not ironed. To make matters worse, running to his car he noticed a tire was flat. Disgusted, and by this time thoroughly distraught, the minister finally got underway with a sudden burst of speed. Racing through town he failed to notice a stop sign and rushed through it. As fate would have it, there was a policeman nearby, and in just moments he heard the scream of a siren. Jumping out of his car, the agitated minister said sharply, "Well, go ahead and give me a ticket. Everything else has gone wrong today." The policeman walked up and said quietly, "Sir, I used to have days like that before I became a Christian."
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Randy Aly) Sometimes our faith seems to falter.
B. When you get discouraged your feelings dominate you. Notice the feelings Elijah struggled against.
- He struggled with fear. (2-3)
- He struggled with hopelessness.(4)
- He struggled with self pity.(10)
- He struggled with frustration. (10)
II. Notice the cure for discouragement.
A. The first step in curing discouragement is to recognize your condition. (vs. 3) Elijah had to come to grips with his deplorable condition.j
Illustration: A few days ago while driving down the interstate I heard a knocking noise coming from underneath my car. I stopped to check it out and discovered a flat tire. That condition needed immediate attention.
B. The second step in curing discouragement is to release the negatives you are struggling against.
- It could be unforgiveness.
- It could be tiredness.
- It could be stress.
- It could be negative people.
The negative forces in our life tend to build up until they rob our joy and destroy our spirits. Somehow we must release those feelings to the Lord and release our spirits.
C. The third step in curing discourgement is to refresh ourselves. (vs. 5-9)Elijah did not set out to refresh himself. He ran to the wilderness as an act of desperation. That is the way discouragement tends to work. Discouragement tends to build until we cannot stand it and then we run to a refuge. However, there is a more positive approach to the situation. It is better to refresh ourselves before we crash. The things Elijah did in desperation, we can do before the crisis comes.
- Elijah ate and rested.(vs. 5-8)
- Eliah received a word from the Lord.(9)