Overcoming Discouragement (Part 2)
One of the greatest and often kept hidden challenges that we have in this life is discouragement. Everyone faces discouraging circumstances in their lives. These circumstances vary from bad grades on a test, not making the team, or a relationship breakup for a youth to job loss, lengthy illness, or loss of a spouse for an adult. Among all of humanity and at every age everyone suffers from discouragement. This being the case we should direct our attention to the Scriptures that we may learn just how we can both endure and overcome such trying times.
In a previous article, we noted two particular scriptural treatments for overcoming discouragement: 1) look up rather than down and 2) count your blessings not your problems. Let’s continue these thoughts noting three more treatments which, if properly applied, will help us in those times when we find ourselves struggling with discouragement.
Look outward rather than inward.
Paul instructed the Galatians, “Bear ye one another’s burdens”
(Gal. 6:2), and “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all” (Gal. 6:10). It is impossible to adhere to these admonitions when we continually dwell on our own problems to the exclusion of the trials and difficulties of others. Hanging on the cross Jesus uttered two amazing statements: “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), and “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). While we often consider the spiritual significance of these statements we fail to consider that even in the most trying time of His life, Jesus was looking outward to the needs and state of others rather than His own difficulty. If we were truly to stop and think about it, on our worst day we could find someone engaged in a far greater battle than ourselves. When we look to others who are discouraged, and try to encourage them, we will ourselves be encouraged. Thus another treatment to help us overcome discouragement is to look outward rather than inward — be an encourager!
Read the end of the book—We Win!
We’ve all had days that start out bad and seem to get worse as the day progresses. If we know nothing of what lies beyond this life we might easily give up. But the end of all things for the Christian is victory in Jesus Christ! We have a mansion prepared for us (John 14:1-3); this body in which our spirit dwells will one day give way to that “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1)! Paul encouraged the Corinthians saying,
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).
The earth and all contained within it, including the trials and difficulties of life, will one day pass away! In that dwelling place which is to come there will be no sadness, sorrow, tears, death, parting, separation, fears, worldly labors, or temptations — ONLY VICTORY! Read the end of the book (Rev. 1-21). We Win!
A final treatment suggestion to help us overcome discouragement is: look at the difficulties of this world as a way to make you stronger and lift you up. We often read the instruction of James when considering this thought:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4).
But consider also the significance of Paul’s words,
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you
In essence, Paul could say: “I may not know the plan but I know God, and I will trust Him to see me through.” Paul allowed the difficulties of this world to draw him closer to his Savior to such a degree that he would say,
for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Tim. 1:12).
The trials and tribulations of this life, if we will let them, can lift us up closer to God than we have ever been.
God told Abraham “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art” — then God showed Abraham what He was going to give him. Similarly God has told us to lift up our eyes and look to Him and His Word and He will help us to overcome! Are you discouraged? Focus your eyes on heaven and count your blessings. Look around—if you find one in a worse condition than you—help them. Remember, as Christians faithful to God—We Win! Let the difficulties of this world lift you up, in doing this we can overcome discouragement!