Dealing with Discouragement

“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.” (Psalms 13:1-4)

It would be hard for us to honestly say that we have been through things equal to what David went through to bring him to this point. However, if we are honest we have to admit that we have all felt at least somewhat this level of discouragement. I have not been in the ministry very long, but I have already experienced the times of discouragement that I so often heard about. It gets to the point where discouragement is almost a practical matter, simply because it can so greatly affect our daily responsibilities in our respective ministries. So, the question is, How do we deal with discouragement?

The best advice I have heard so far for dealing with discouragement is not any specific formula. Rather, I was told to develop a personal routine of preventing and dealing with discouragement. David built himself up in the Lord. I have found it very effective to figure out how I can do the same for myself.

I would like to share my method of dealing with discouragement. However, I would also like to hear suggestions that have been effective for others. Nothing is more encouraging than knowing that we are not alone in running our course.

Which brings me to the first way I deal with discouragement –

Association with God’s People

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:23-25)

We most often use Hebrews 10:25 to shame our church members who are unfaithful to church meetings. But, there is so much more to this idea of God’s people being together. It obviously means more than our ‘three services a week’ mentality intends. These Christians met every day, in any place they could find. They met to encourage, exhort and provoke each other to live the lives worthy of their newly given name. And, if there were ever a group of people to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering, it would be the first century church.

Acts 28:15 may seem like an incredibly random verse, but it stuck out to me as an example of how vital Christian fellowship is in Christian ministry. A group of men heard that the Apostle Paul was going to be a certain place. Despite the distance, they met Paul there. Paul’s reaction was one of thanksgiving and encouragement.

Perhaps it is much less than some, but I know that feeling. Fellowship with church family at my home church is a precious thing to me. This is especially so because I live a long way away from my parents and other physical family. Thanks be to God, I have come to depend on my spiritual family.

There is also a certain group of friends that I have that are the source of a great deal of encouragement for me. I would be hard pressed to find something more encouraging than meeting up and talking with them. I pray for them; they pray for me; we discuss life, the ministry and our Lord. I don’t know of anything more refreshing.

Saturation of God’s Word

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
(Romans 15:4)

This is where studying the Scriptures becomes more than an academic endeavor. We look into them for spiritual renewal. God’s Word is more than our text book. It is source of hope and our foundation of faith. The Scriptures are more than our subject matter. They are our diet of meat and milk for which we hunger and thirst.

It must be noted, however, that this attitude does not excuse our effort in studying. The Scriptures were written for our learning. We must learn of God and all His attributes and come to a better understanding of Who exactly it is we are worshipping and serving. It is then that we have hope through patience and comfort.

So, there is fine line to be maintained. We must not study to simply know about God. That is the essence of cold intellectualism. However, we must make every effort to know more of our Father so that we may fall more fully into His arms by faith. That way, when times of encouragement come, we will “through patience and comfort of the scriptures” have hope.

Infatuation with Jesus

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

These two verses are used on an individual basis for a number of purposes. However, together they form the greatest source of encouragement possible. The author exhorts us to run our race with no distractions. How? It is done by looking unto Jesus. It is our view of Christ that determines our running.

In Philippians 3:4-10, Paul counted all things “loss” so that he might “know” Jesus Christ more intimately by faith. He detested everything which previously had value to him and was enamored with Christ. Speaking in terms of worldly accomplishments, Paul accomplished so much. Nevertheless, for Paul, there was nothing in this world that could compare with the joy found only in knowing Christ personally.

It was that personal intimacy and infatuation that drove Paul and encouraged him constantly. That is why he was able to say at the end of his life, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Timothy 4:7)

These three things have been my source of encouragement. I pray that they are a help and a blessing to you.


1 comment so far

  1. Rev P.H. Bamaiyi on

    This message is a personal blessing to me because i often have to fight discouragement in the ministry and sometimes it comes from fellow ministers who utter lies under the guise of truth against afellow minister and that from the pulpit. It can be very discouraging but i try not to attack such back.God is faithful

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