Sometimes it seems that we stand, believe, pray and declare only to see everything we think should happen go in the opposite direction. There are some days when nothing happening is a relief from the deluge of bad news and real life drama. I have actually told God that when I prayed, “More, Lord!” I didn’t mean more suffering! There are times when I am spiritually and emotionally too tired to pray anything more than, “Help!”
I know I’m not alone; especially in these days, for those who are going after God and the things of the Spirit with their whole hearts. The warfare is heavy and it is real. So how do we keep from getting discouraged when we are in the middle of personal battles and distress, not to mention wars and terrorist attacks and starving children?
I did a search on the word “encourage” in the Amplified Bible. I got over 60 scriptures. Most of those were somehow referring to people encouraging people. There was one about the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We know how real and sweet that is, but the plan of God is to pour out His Holy Spirit through clay vessels. Just read a couple of these.
- Job 16:5 (Whole Chapter)
[But] I would strengthen and encourage you with [the words of] my mouth, and the consolation of my lips would soothe your suffering.
- Romans 1:12 (Whole Chapter)
That is, that we may be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
- 2 Corinthians 7:6 (Whole Chapter)
But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus.
Jesus knows how discouraging the world can be. He lived here. So in His love for us, He made a way for us to get through all of this successfully. His way is the cross. Always. It is by receiving His sacrifice that we are forgiven and released of the burden of sin, guilt, and death. Ok, meditating on that alone should dispel discouragement, but that’s not all. The only way to receive Him and His way is to follow Him to the cross, humble ourselves, take up our own cross and become living sacrifices. You may be thinking that this is not what you signed up for and not very encouraging, either. Oh, but it is; on both counts!
If you want to follow Jesus, there is no other way but the cross, and although it is counterintuitive, there is no life, joy, peace or happiness until we die to ourselves. Once we start this process the Holy Spirit is able to fill us and there is no greater joy than knowing His presence and then we can’t help but talk about how good God has been to us! It’s really that simple. When we speak about what God is doing for us it releases faith in ourselves and to those we speak to and we all get encouraged! If you don’t have a recent testimony of your own, tell someone else’s. Put yourself around people who have bigger faith than you do, then go find someone to encourage. It’s hard to be discouraged when your praising God!