by Michael Gilbert
February 25, 2007
Sometimes it happens when loved ones die. Sometimes it comes when those dreaded “problems” disrupt the unity of the local church. Other times, it comes when our marriages are strained. Perhaps a friend’s lapse in judgment shatters his seemingly stable spiritual life and brings “it” into our lives.
“It” is the discouragement which leads to forsaking the Lord and His people.
Jeremiah almost quit. Ezekiel cried out to God because of it. Job surely possessed his share. And who could forget King David’s despair? The mighty Moses even battled it. We, too, have had our share of discouragement.
What enabled these men of God to overcome discouragement? What can help us to defeat this great enemy of God’s people?
Personally speaking…I have experienced discouragement in my life. During these “down times”, we all are tempted to forsake the Lord and His people. We begin focusing on ourselves instead of others, and it is hard to get “out of the rut”.
During times of great discouragement, we deceive ourselves, fully believing that we are “thinking clearly”. However, our judgment is clouded.
I now understand the words of my instructor at MSOP, “Don’t make a decision on a blue day”. What great advice.
How do we overcome discouragement?
Remember – Others Rely On You
Deep discouragement almost caused the Psalmist to abandon God and His people (read Psalm 73). It caused him to focus on his problems, rather than helping others.
At one point, he thought, “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain…for all day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning” (Ps. 73:13-14). He thought it was useless to live for God!
How thankful we should be because the Psalmist gives us his secret for overcoming discouragement in the very next verse – “If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children” (Ps. 73:15, ESV). He was concerned about his influence on God’s children! His attention was finally focused on others!
So remember, when that terrible feeling of discouragement hits just think about all the people that you would influence for the worse if you decide to give up your faith in God, stop worshiping, and/or begin complaining. Think about your brothers and sisters in Christ. Think about your family. If you forsake Christ and His church because of discouragement, others may follow.