Satan has a large arsenal of weapons to use against the Christian. Some are more obvious than others yet all are potentially damning. Thankfully, we are “not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11) and can prepare adequate defenses against his assaults. His schemes are numerous. Each is tailor-made for the individual and for the specific circumstance he finds himself in. Today, we consider discouragement.
The opposite of encouragement, discouragement drains a person of both hope and energy. Future prospects are dimmed and negative thoughts dominate thinking. Discouragement produces sadness and even the most positive thinking believer is not immune. The Bible warns against causing discouragement in others (Colossians 3:21).
Keep the Prize in View
We are only passing through this world. Our hope is beyond and is eternal. The writer of Hebrews spoke of another land, a place with foundations (Hebrews 11:8-10). For us, this old world and all of its troubles is passing away. We have a hope anchored in the very nature of God. “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:17-19).
The prize is eternal life free from the troubles and concerns of this world.
Encouragement Beats Discouragement
Like fighting fire with water, discouragement can be battled with encouragement. First, redouble your efforts to encourage others. Never stop encouraging and building up the people who surround you. By doing so, you will blunt the pain of your own struggles. We often say that there is always someone else in worse circumstances. A trite, but true statement. Find the person in your circle of friends who faces even worse problems than you. Build them up and you will find your discouragement lessened.
Next, surround yourself with encouraging people. It’s a fact that some people are just negative. The “Negative Nancys” of the world suck the life out of people around them. One politician once spoke of the “nattering nabobs of negativity”; these people are to be avoided at all costs. Instead, surround yourself with people who look for the good and positive in life. Their lives are contagious and will help you find the good in every situation. Avoid the bad and enhance the good.
Job was struck with every imaginable evil but he was also surrounded with 4 negative “friends” and a wife who told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Yet, Job maintained his faith in God and was delivered. His negative wife and friends did him no good.
Count Your Blessings
Life is rarely as bad as it seems. It is wise to pause and take stock of the extreme level of blessings God has given you. Remember, the greatest blessings are not found in the bank. Things like health and family are far more important than cash. And your spiritual blessings are immense. Count those blessings. You will be encouraged.
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.