“Be of good courage, and the Lord shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” Ps 31:24
There are always opportunities to get discouraged. You can get discouraged because of what other people do or don’t do. You can get discouraged with the news. You can get discouraged about so many things in life. Discouragement will always present an opportunity for you!
So many quit in life because they get discouraged with themselves when they don’t follow through on a goal or a promise. Many become discouraged when things don’t work out the way they thought they should have. The problem with discouragement is that it comes with a price. The negative effects of this emotion rob us of hope. When we are hopeless in life, it will lead us to all kinds of failures and setbacks. Discouragement destroys enthusiasm and can even reverse progress that we have made in life. Discouragement can lead to depression and if left untreated the results can be devastating.
This is why God has said all through His Word for us not to be discouraged. He commands us all to “take” courage! He told Joshua before he went into the land of great armies and even giants to not be afraid, but to be strong and very courageous.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then, will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
You see my friend, God knew that Joshua had to take hold of courage before he went into the unknown land. This is the same for all of us. When things look tough, difficult, or even scary, we need to choose courage!
I believe discouragement is an emotional temptation; and with all temptations, God says He will give us the strength to overcome them!
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:13
When we feel the temptation to be discouraged, when we start speaking words that lead to it, we must stop. We should not allow it in our lives. We should never tolerate discouragement. We need to fight it!
Jesus does not want us to be discouraged. In fact, he commands us not to be. Listen to what Jesus says to his disciples just before what probably was the most discouraging experience of their lives — his crucifixion “Let not your hearts be troubled!” John 14:1
Jesus says, “Let not.” This is not a suggestion; it is a command. He knew they would be tempted to fear, to become discouraged. Things were going to look very bad, like the whole mission was a complete failure. What were they to do instead of being discouraged and hopeless? Believe! “Believe in God; believe also in me!” In other words, “Don’t let your hearts be ruled by what you see. Let them be ruled by what He promised you.” This is exactly what Jesus is saying to us.
What’s tempting you to be discouraged today? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you weakening in your resolve to change? Are you feeling pressured to quit, to give up? Are you having a hard time believing that God really will work for good what looks so bad to you?
Then it’s time to fight, not pout or hide. It’s time to stand up because you are better than that! You are a child of the King! I want you to think of discouragement as your faith being choked. When you’re choking, it’s not the time to sit around and do nothing. It’s not time to sleep! It’s not time to sit in front of the TV and “veg” away. No! It’s time to breathe freely! It’s time to dislodge what’s choking you! It’s time to fight for life, not choke on life! I know you can do this! I’m giving you a “Truth filled” Heimlich maneuver right now! Get discouragement out and freely breathe in faith and courage my friend! Now let’s go out there and win in life!