Are you discouraged over something right now? Is this why the title prompted you to peruse this subject? I certainly understand the reality of discouragement. I have personally experienced it as well as tried to encourage thousands of Christians over the years. It is a real feeling. I recognize your discouragement. I feel the hopelessness you feel this very moment. However, there is hope for victory over discouragement!
A Definition of Discouragement
What is discouragement? We all face it on occasion. We face discouragement in our jobs, relationships, finances, and maybe even in our Church. Discouragement means: “to be deprived of confidence; a feeling of hopelessness; a defeated spirit; to be disheartened.”
Discouragement, ‘One of Satan’s Most Effective Tools Against the Believer’
I sincerely believe that of all the weapons Satan uses against the Christian, he uses discouragement most effectively. Why? Because when we are discouraged, what will happen?
1. Discouragement leads us to lose heart in what we were doing. This is exactly what happened to Elijah after he had called fire down from Heaven and killed the 450 false prophets. He then heard that wicked Queen Jezebel was searching for him in order to kill him. He grew discouraged and went to hide in a cave. Yes, discouragement led him to lose his focus.
Is this not the same feeling of hopelessness which the Disciples faced after the death of Jesus? Did some, if not all, feel as though all was lost which led them to quit the ministry and go back to their secular trade? Yes, discouragement will cause us to lose our focus.
2. Discouragement leads us to grow critical of others. I could speak of Israel’s doubt and greed, but certainly in their mix of issues which led to a continual stream of criticism was discouragement. They thought they would starve, suffer thirst deprivation, and be killed by the enemy. Certainly their lack of faith led to their discouragement, but through their discouragement came the critical spirit.
What causes Discouragement? In this article, let me suggest five reasons Christians become discouraged:
1. We focus on our problems rather than on God’s power.
Matthew 19:26 says, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Genesis 18:14 asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Jeremiah 32:17 emphatically answers the above question by saying there is NOTHING too hard for our God to do!
2. We focus on what we DO NOT have rather than ALL we DO possess!
This pessimistic spirit leads us to think of the worst case scenario. I will starve; I’ll lose everything. While these may be possibilities are there not also options? Do we not have the Creator of the universe living within us? Is this situation REALLY too hard for our Father to do on our behalf?
3. We focus on the LIES of Satan rather than upon the TRUTHFULNESS of God.
Our enemy whispers the above thoughts and for some reason we chose to believe him rather than God and His PROMISES!
John 8:44 reminds us that Satan is a liar and not to be trusted!
Titus 1:2 reminds us of the Integrity of God in which God cannot lie!
4. We focus on the Negative words of people. Read I Samuel 30:1-6.
5. We focus on fighting the enemy with our own strength, rather than using the scriptures and trusting in God’s strength.
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16