Overcoming Discouragement

Tags: Encouragement, Spiritual Warfare
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Overcoming Discouragement
Overcoming Discouragement is an uplifting article designed to help meet areas of need when it comes to bringing encouragement to your soul. You will be built up and encouraged!

Overcoming Discouragement

Many years ago, I contacted an organization that publishes gospel pamphlets, also known as gospel tracts, like The Tract League1 or Moments with the Book2, and ordered a box of tracts to pass out to people, so I could share the good news of Jesus with them. I remember handing them out to people as I was walking, and I interrupted one person, offered them a tract, and they took it. This person said to me, “Thank you for giving me this. I was thinking of committing suicide today.”

Thus, suicide was prevented.

My actions made an impact on that person.

While this one person was “fortunate” in that they received this message from me that day, there are other people who have not been so fortunate. For I actually know someone who did commit suicide, and I would have never thought that this man would do that, but in a fragile moment, he took his own life.

As it turns out, something happened in that man’s life, in which he felt like such a failure, he could no longer live. This man fell prey to deception. God does not want us taking our own lives. Every life is precious, and so is yours.

You are created in God’s image. And that means you are highly valuable. You are so valuable to God that Jesus died for you.

Because we live in a spiritual world, it is possible to receive thoughts that are not ours. These thoughts might speak words like, “I am a failure” — even putting this in the first person, as though you were speaking.

Or, the thought might say, “I can’t get anything right.”

Or, the thought might say, “Why do I always mess up so badly?”

When thoughts like these creep in, we need to ask ourselves, “What is happening?”

What is happening is that there is a spiritual war. Many of these thoughts do not even come from us. We need to be mindful that there is an enemy.

In situations were you feel discouraged, it can often be a very good thing to put on some worship music.

For example, you can go to YouTube and search for the “50 Greatest Gospel Hymns of all Time” which you will find very satisfying. You can also listen to Don Moen, who will encourage you. You might want to search for Together for the Gospel Live, which will also encourage you. You will be built up and fortified in your spirit as you listen to these.

Perhaps you might also consider watching, “Dwelling in the Secret Place of the Most High Psalm 91,” with Cody Russel as the speaker.

This is very encouraging!

There are indeed many good recordings on YouTube that you can be built up by. And while this is true, it’s also good to try and understand what mechanisms might be at work that might start to make you feel discouraged, sometimes.

Without a doubt, fatigue can be, and often is, a contributing factor. On this note, I would like to truly encourage you to pay attention to those times when you feel discouraged the most. Is it upon waking? Is it just before going to bed? Is it on an empty stomach? It is somehow related to a time of year? Is it money related? Is is related to relationships? Is it related to a need for acceptance? Is there no perceived hope? The Bible assures us that there is hope, and that God will help us.

“Why are you in despair, my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God! For I shall still praise him, the saving help of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have noted that, sometimes, I am much more sensitive to spiritual things than at other times. What I mean by this is that sometimes I can sense the reality of the spiritual battle impinging upon me. I have had cases where I was doing my work, and I was being assaulted, or bombarded, with evil thoughts. Yet because I was confident in my faith (in other words, faith-filled), I was able to deflect that bombardment.

The Bible says,

“... above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16)

This passage tells us that there is a spiritual war going on. It’s real. It’s unseen, but we must always be on our guard.

Fiery Darts

In this verse, Ephesians 6:16, which we have just read, Paul talks about the fiery darts of the evil one. What are they? These constitute doubts and discouragement that are, in fact, being sent to us on a spiritual wavelength that you can even feel.

You can feel it because these beings are spiritual. They have the power to implant thoughts into our minds.

It is important to recognize that there is an unseen spiritual war going on. In fact, it’s vital that we understand this.

The Bible says,

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

How then do we increase our faith?

One way to increase our faith is to put on some good worship music. And this comes right from the Bible, because the Bible says to praise God.

Yet in another passage, we read,

“Do not be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-21)

And so this is also one way to defeat discouragement. Because when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will not be discouraged.

There is, of course, the word of God. We should be reading it. I think a lot of confusion comes into people’s lives, because they are simply not reading the word of God. Choose a book of the Bible that you enjoy reading, and if you are not sure where to start, I recommend the book of John. It’s in the New Testament, and it will encourage you greatly.

Praying is important, but we also may need to receive prayer. Make sure you are in touch with people who really love God. These are the ones that you want to ask to pray for you.

You may need to call a friend.

And it’s pretty important to get connected in with a fellowship group, where you can receive encouragement from others. Trying to go at it alone is not a good idea.

These fellowship groups are sometimes called churches, or assemblies, or congregations. Or, they could be a weekly Bible study that you might want to get involved in. I recommend that you do, and there are usually a lot around. So look into it.

If you don’t have a friend who is a Christian, begin praying for one. Read the Bible daily, and make sure you understand what it says so that you are not deceived. Then, when God brings to you a true Christian, you will know that person is serious. You’ve got a little bit of work to do. You will need to read the Bible diligently, and start following some good teachers.

Personally, I would recommend Chuck Smith from Calvary Chapel, who has an entire series on the Bible.3 And one of my favorite YouTube Bible teachers is Mike Winger.4

We need others to help us.

We have an enemy. That enemy is known as Satan, and he is an evil spirit. There are many evil spirits, and they are also called demons or fallen angels.

God didn’t create it that way. He created them all good. But some of them fell. They rebelled, just like humans rebel sometimes. These fallen angels are devious and want to trap you. You will need to be careful to know what God’s word says so you are not trapped. And that’s why you really need to get into the word of God.

These demons are not your friends, and they can put thoughts into your mind, that you might think were your own thoughts.

These would be thoughts like, “I will never make it in life.”

Or, “Why am I so stupid?”

Or, “No one will ever like me.”

All of these can have their source in the demonic realm and often do.

If you have done drugs, or are addicted to any substance, or are living a sinful lifestyle, this can also attract demons. And you will really not be able to get free until you give these up.

Giving these up is a good thing, because these things only hinder you from getting close to God and from fulfilling God’s purposes for your life.

Demons love the atmosphere of self-condemnation. So if you speak enough negativity, they will be attracted to that. But if you begin to praise God for all his goodness, in sending Jesus to die for you, you will notice that you will start to win victories.

Jesus came to free us, not to condemn us! But we must walk in a holy manner. Otherwise, we will come under a spirit of condemnation.

Hence, this is how some people get really trapped.

How do you get away from this? You can get away from this by focusing on those things that are pure and lovely. And when you do this, this makes God pleased. You will be exercising faith, and he will even send angels your way to oppose those demons that have been assaulting you. For the Bible says,

Yahweh’s angel encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (Psalm 34:7)

Note the condition in the above verse. It is for those who fear God. In other words, you must be intent on obeying him.

I’ve experienced victories myself. And then I’ve seen attacks. These attacks can be tests. They can be sometimes due to doing foolish things. But not always.

Even Jesus was approached by the devil. Jesus had no sin. You may come under some type of attack that God is permitting so that you will become strengthened. God is teaching you the art of spiritual warfare.

Now sin attracts demons. So we can’t really blame everything on the devil. In a way, we are all like Cain, to whom God said,

“If you do not do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.” (See Genesis 4:7)

If we get mastery over sin, we’ve really won half the battle over the devil and his demons. But that does not mean we’ve won the entire battle. Even Jesus was approached by the devil. However, he did not sin.

We cannot fight the devil in our strength. But if we submit to God, he will cause the devil to flee from us. In James 4, it says,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Pure and Lovely

So what does it means exactly to focus on things that are pure and lovely? For one, if you tuned in to one of those YouTube videos I mentioned earlier, that would be putting your focus on something pure and lovely.

The Bible says,

“In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report: if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think about these things. The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:6-9)

Doing these things helps us to overcome negative thoughts. But let’s say you watched a horror movie. In that case, you’re moving in the wrong direction. You will need to put those types of things completely away if you want to experience the peace that God promises to his children. In fact, Jesus made an amazing promise to his followers in John 14. He said,

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

This promise is made to those who are genuine followers of Christ. This peace is not available to unbelievers.

Receiving Forgiveness

One struggle some believers face is in receiving God’s forgiveness, because they know they have “messed up so badly.” If I was to tell you that God is “that good” that he wants to forgive you completely, and put you on a new path, would you accept it? Well, I can assure you, he really is that good. The Bible says,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In another very important passage, we read,

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

And in Luke 12, Jesus says to his followers,

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

By appropriating these promises and understanding them, we will be built up in our faith. It is good to memorize these verses and others.

Sometimes, the way out is through confession. The Bible says,

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

And always remember that as a believer, the Lord will never forsake you. He is there to help you, so do not give up. The Bible says,

Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Our souls are complex. None of us was raised in a perfect environment. And even if we had been raised in a perfect environment, there is still an enemy (Satan) who is roaming this earth. In 1 Peter 5, we read,

“Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Jesus said,

“The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

The Bible says,

“No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. That means that when you are faced with a difficult situation, you can know that God will see you through (however, you must trust him).

Does this mean we are always promised a bed of roses in this life? Well, not quite. Paul writes in Romans 8,

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

And in yet another important passage, we read,

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

In all of this, we can see that we are in the midst of a warfare. This warfare is called a spiritual warfare, and the Bible has a lot to say about it. If you want victory, you are going to need to know the Bible, and know it well.

Be encouraged. You can do it. The Lord has called you to be an overcomer.

1. https://tractleague.com

2. https://mwtb.org/

3. https://calvarychapel.com/posts/c2000/

4. https://www.youtube.com/@MikeWinger

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