John 10:10 (Amplified)
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
James 1:2 (NAS)
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.
Last Wednesday evening, Pastor Steve Blair shared some insight on how to reverse discouragement in our lives. Too often we allow the Enemy to steal our joy, and it’s up to us to claim what is ours in Christ.
Reasons of discouragement can be the result of being tired, fearful or apprehensive, when we get frustrated about our circumstances, or we can become discouraged when we make mistakes.
Many characters in the Bible suffered discouragement. One that comes to mind, who handled himself beautifully in the face of troubling circumstances is Job. Yea, you know…..”the patience of Job” is a phrase you hear often when you recognize someone remaining strong and positive in the face of overwhelming and painful circumstances. At times like that, we ponder why God isn’t doing what we think He is supposed to be doing for the sad soul…..which at one time or another the suffering soul becomes each of us.
Job had the best answer.
He truly found encouragement in his relationship with the Lord.
Pastor Steve shared seven ways that we can encourage ourselves when we become discouraged. God needs people who can step up to the plate and encourage themselves.
The following steps represent how that can be accomplished:
(I have included my personal comments in addition to Pastor Steve’s points)
1. We need to make sure that we have an active and trusting relationship with the Lord. How do we do that? First of all, in order for us to love ourselves, we must recognize that God loved us first, and He loves us unconditionally.
2. It’s also important that we maintain a healthy dependence on people. We all need people in our lives to provide support in relationships. A lot of times when people get discouraged, they tend to hold back and crawl into a cave of self pity, limiting contact with people. What God wants us to do is to be active in seeking or reaching out to those who truly love us, and those who want what is best for us. However, we must make sure that Christ is placed first in our lives. Healthy relationships with family members and friends are significant, but should precede our relationship with Christ.
3. We need to have a view that is reality based — solely on the Bible. We need to believe and trust in the promises of Scripture. As Christians, we need to recognize that the Holy Bible is complete Truth. We cannot pick parts out of it to suit our needs for our personal convenience or individual circumstances.
4. We need to accept ourselves as valuable and unique to God. He loves us more than we can ever begin to imagine loving another. Each child of God is special to Him. He created each of us for a beautiful purpose. Our trials will build our character. He is more concerned in our character than our comfort. ()
5. We have to have a thankful heart and a positive attitude. I was told one time that if I take a few minutes to count my blessings each day, I will truly have a grateful soul. It’s also important to maintain a positive attitude, which at times can be somewhat difficult when the Enemy is shooting flaming arrows from all different directions. Sometimes those arrows get pretty hot, and we can become discouraged…but we must remember to “consider it all joy.”
6. We must be consistent in our worship. When we passionately and actively worship our Lord, He gives us the power and strength to change our perspective and ultimately change our circumstances in His timing.
7. We must align our expectations with reality. God’s will for our lives is designed in our favor in order that we may be our BEST in Christ. Our reality should be parallel to His will for our lives, and we should expect God’s best in all outcomes (Romans 8:28).
Pastor Steve also shared this important note:
“When people try to eliminate pain out of their life, they eliminate the life out of their life.”
I learned a long time ago in my divorce recovery program, B.E., we cannot try to go around it, over it, or under it…
The only way THROUGH IT is to go THROUGH IT, and to know that our King is right there beside us. He has already been through the FIRE for us so that we can truly live. Those who remain discouraged are people who expect victory without difficulty or those who expect difficulty without victory.
So, if you are discouraged today, take a minute to pray over these steps and allow God to give you the strength to encourage yourself. Our Father sees the BIG PICTURE, and we must trust Him to guide us in and through all of these steps. And the beautiful thing that happens is that once we are encouraged, we have the power to encourage others. Someone once told me that if you want to take your mind off of your circumstances, then take a minute to help another in need. Our problems tend to diminish when we can help and/or encourage another.
With the Light of the Lord within us, we have no choice but to SHINE and REFLECT His beautiful GLORY!
LIFE IS GOOD!