Discouragement

<<down heartedness, dejection>>

This is one of Satan’s most effective weapons for demoralizing the saints and shattering their faith, with many giving up; why not view it as a catalyst, a challenge to continue and overcome, conquering in the area in which the enemy was/is trying to defeat you.  When tired and discouraged pray more even though it requires extra effort to be focused on God “who gives strength to the weak enabling them to rise up as eagles” above the situation (Isa 40:29-31).  God is the source of all comfort and we will grow stronger in our faith as we persevere through the trials (1 Pet 1:6,7).

Fatigue, past failure, lack of response, fear and being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task are some reasons for this prevalent condition, in which self is always at the centre. Delays in the promises of God materialising as we presumed they would, or impatience on our part are other causes, or we may be claiming something that is not His will for us. Often when we try our best, things go amiss with less than desirable outcomes, leading to self-condemnation, inappropriate guilt and shattered self-esteem.

Keep your eyes on God and give thanks to Him for what He is doing in your life, not just the outward, often-depressing circumstances that we don’t have control over. Discouragement, disappointment

  God is always for me

and dissatisfaction all involve looking at any situation through our natural eyes, not the eyes of faith, seeing it from God’s perspective. It is easy to lose heart and be low in spirit when our eyes are on what is against us rather than who is for us – we are more than conquerors because of the mighty victory gained through His death and resurrection (Rom 8:35-39; Heb 12:2).

Prayer is acknowledging our need and dependency on God to work in the situation and praise is a powerful weapon to combat the destructive forces that come against us. “Why are you cast down my soul?  Hope in God, recall or consider all that he has done for you”, rather than focusing your attention on what has gone wrong. When everyone was against David, he found strength and encouragement in God – the only sure source (1 Sam 30:6; Ps 42:5,6,11, 43:5). “Let none who waits on the Lord be disappointed” (Ps 25:3).  If nothing else we can rejoice that our names are written in the book of life (Lk 10:20). Job’s devastation was reversed when he became other-focused, so surrender your hurts to God, reach out, and encourage others (Job 42:10; 2 Cor 1:4). David would say to us, do not lose heart or be intimidated by the size of Goliath (the problem that blocks your path), instead come against it in the name of the Lord Almighty (1 Sam 17:32,45). Discouragement leads to self-pity, grumbling and complaining as everything gets out of perspective.  Elijah thought he was the only true servant of God left when in fact there were over seven thousand (1 Kgs 19:4,10,18).

Very few things in life reach the level we have anticipated; the ideal, although seldom achieved, is a goal to reach for, to inspire our hope. When results are the criteria, discouragement can arise from a lack of progress with either the quantity or quality of things achieved. Realistic targets should be set and even if progress is slower than planned, provided you are going forward you are making headway. 

Seeming slowness in spiritual growth and a lack of victory in someone we have invested time and effort into can cause Godly discouragement especially if they turn away from walking with Jesus and in truth.  The principle of co-operating with God was reinforced when the disciples began ministering, “The Lord worked with them” (Mk 16:20). We have to do our part to achieve the desired result – faith and works, God and us, prayer and action. Satan would like us to give up the good fight without pursuing our God-given calling in life (1 Tim 6:12). Paul was “confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).

Don’t focus on the failures of the past, learn from them and move on wiser and more determined to win, yet be inspired by the successes.

If you share a burden with others, it should not be to gain sympathy, rather so they can minister to you by helping carry the load and maybe offer advice so don’t cast away your confidence and trust in God (Num 11:16,17; Gal 6:2; Heb 10:25; 1 Pet 5:7). Modern life is so centered on my interests – how it affects me personally, that self has become a god. Self-pity is the outcome when we consider we are not being ministered to because our goals and desires are not being met, view them instead as character building experiences; don’t let Satan win by turning you away from God and back to the old lifestyle. As Christians, it’s not about us anyway. God is to be first in everything, followed by our love and concern for our fellow humans (Mk 12:30,31). 

Negative attitudes, either about yourself or others bring discouragement while complimenting another looks for and focuses on the good which is

Don’t sign for what Satan delivers to you

always there, besides lifting your spirit and giving resilience to bounce back and try again. When people disappoint us at times, don’t become bitter but better through the situations of life, walking in relationship with Him and displaying the fruit of Spirit so hope rises in your heart (Gal 5:22,23).

See also: delay, depression, despair, disappointment, emotions, encouragement, failure, fatigue, focus, hopeless, not being ministered to, perspective, positive mental attitude, prayer (unanswered), self-pity.


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