This week, the theme of discouragement has been on my mind. I’ve been reading through Nehemiah again and have observed that one of the enemy’s prime tactics is to try and discourage those who are working for the Lord. He knows that a discouraged worker can quickly and easily be immobilized. Perhaps you have experienced discouragement in your own life or ministry. If so, please read on!
I’ve always viewed the word dis-courage-ment as “a loss of courage.” Courage is that necessary thing that drives us forward each new day and gives us the strength to face the inevitable challenges of life. Courage is something that can easily be lost. When hope fades, courage can be forgotten. Courage can seem fleeting when the future appears dim or uncertain. When victory seems unattainable, courage can easily take wings and fly. When courage is lost, fear attempts to fill in the gaps. Lost courage is a dangerous thing for the Christian. A lack of courage gives the enemy free rein to trample over all the wonderful things God wants to do through our lives. It’s no wonder that the Bible commands us at least 25 times to be strong and courageous.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but you are going to fail. At some point in your Christian life you will struggle with making the wise choice, and even occasionally do the right thing the wrong way. While this isn’t a life pattern that the Lord wants us to fall into, it’s a reality that we will find ourselves dealing with from time to time.
For those of us who love Jesus, this bothers us. To some degree this is healthy because it forces us to learn from our mistakes. But, we must be careful to never let a healthy discontentment over our failures turn into paralyzing discouragement.
The word discouragement contains the word courage. To be encouraged means to gain courage and fortitude to move forward. To be discouraged means to loose courage and become faint of heart. This is why Jesus exhorts us, “Be of good courage!”
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” -Jesus
The encouragement of Christ wants to propel you forward into God’s plan.
The discouragement of the enemy wants to force you backwards into the mistakes of the past.
If discouragement has gripped you, take heart friend. If you’ve purposefully sinned, repent. If you’ve innocently failed, get up. If you’ve encountered obstacles, keep climbing. God is not hindered by your failure and wants to encourage you today!
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.