“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes and say ‘O God, forgive me, or Help me’” – Billy Graham
By Pastor George Lehman
Faith must always pass the test of discouragement.
Hebrews 12:3 (NIV) – Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Our theme for 2019 is “Courage” It’s more than just a theme it’s a lifestyle.
The reason I want to talk about discouragement is because very few things can rob us from our joy and passion for life like discouragement.
If you are battling with discouragement I believe you can walk out this church a different person – “Filled with Courage”
Most of us look at 2019 and think this will be a great year a blessed year, a breakthrough year, this year will be different. 2019 is just a new date on a calendar.
Nothing of what didn’t change last year is going to magically change just because it’s 2019. We must make a commitment to change and apply God’s word to our lives.
I would say that discouragement is probably the greatest attack of Satan on our lives. (story of the wedge of discouragement – courage kicks it out). The moment we take our eyes off Jesus and you focus on your problems – discouragement will creep in.
Colossians 3:2 (NIV) – Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things
Proverbs 4:25 (NIV) – Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you
Discouragement results in sin and going astray:
You become Spiritually drained and it’s harder for you to pray
You stop seeking God
You stop reading your Bible
This is exactly what Satan wants to do; Plant seeds of doubt.
Signs of Discouragement: (May alarms go off in your life)
#1. An Attitude of ingratitude
The seeds of discouragement will not grow in a Thankful heart.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Discouragement leads to selfishness all about me. Israel is a perfect example of a people who became discouraged that they became ungrateful.
Numbers 14:2-4 (NIV) – 2All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Numbers 14:11-12 (NIV) – 11The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger then they.”
It’s when discouragement is allowed to set in we begin to forget all God has done for us in the past – we become ungrateful.
#2. A critical fault finding Attitude
A discouraged person battles to say anything positive or anything good. All they ever do is criticise, complain, find fault and are judgemental. We become careless with our tongue. When you discouraged you want everybody to be miserable and unhappy too! (God doesn’t like murmurs)
#3. Discouragement leads to doubt and unbelief.
When discouragement sets in it leaves us temporarily blind to the many truths of God. We lose sight of God’s goodness, kindness, generosity and love. The things we believed in were passionate about Yesterday, we doubt today.
#4. Discouragement leads to a weak watch against temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
We let our guard down when we upset with life.
#5. Discouragement leads to anger.
Have you seen a child build blocks and they don’t fit in? How angry they become?
Adults do the same after a period of discouragement for not getting a prayer answered, a disappointment in someone – anger sets in.
Ephesians 4:31 (Amp) – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence*].
*Malevolence = cruelty / hate
#6. Discouragement leads to giving up.
If you allow discouragement to continue, it will suck the energy and passion out of your life.
Galatians 6:9 (NIV) – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
We give up reading the word, praying, coming to church and home cells.
#7. Discouragement leads to becoming a discourager. (We become instruments for the devil)
Instead of being an encourager, a motivator, speaking words of joy and comfort to others, we become:
Critical and negative
We show doubt and unbelief
We reflect a poor example by giving into temptation
We become angry people
We lose our testimony and just give up
Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV) – 12Beware then of your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God. 13Speak to each other about these things every day while there is still time so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamour of sin.
I have found its no one else’s job to keep my Spirit up and filled with Courage. Yes the preaching helps, our fellow brothers and sisters help, but the only person that keeps me encouraged is Myself!
1 Samuel 30:6 (KJV) – And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.