Why Am I Discouraged?

Tags: Encouragement, Spiritual Warfare
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Why Am I Discouraged?
Why Am I Discouraged? 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!

Why Am I Discouraged?

Many years ago, I contacted an organization like The Tract League1 and ordered a box of tracts (small Bible pamphlets) to pass out to people, so I could encourage them in the Lord. I remember handing them out to people as I was walking, and I interrupted one person, offered them a tract, and they took it. It was so long ago (more than 20 years ago), and I cannot even remember if it was a man or a woman, but I remember what they said to me. They said, “Thank you for giving me this. I was thinking of committing suicide today.” Thus, suicide was prevented.

I did not follow the person up, nor do I have any idea where that person is today. But what I do know is that my actions made an impact on that person. As to why I did not follow that person up, is because I gave away a lot of tracts. In fact, I gave out thousands. I would go out on a fairly regular basis, giving tracts out in the street. I gave out multiple tracts, in multiple languages. I later began writing my own tracts.

While this one person was “fortunate” in that they received that message from me that day and was encouraged by it, 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 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 a failure.

You may receive a thought, and it may tell you something like this: “I am a failure.” Or, it might say, “I cannot get anything right.” Or, it might say something like this, “Why do I always mess up so badly?” When thoughts like this “creep in,” we need to ask ourselves, “What is happening?”

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 on “50 Greatest Gospel Hymns of all Time” which you will find very satisfying. You can also listen to “Psalm 91, psalm 34, psalm 61, psalm 7, psalm 31 (Prayer for protection Bible verses for sleep)” on YouTube (it is very good). You will be built up and fortified in your spirit as you listen to this. Perhaps you might consider also 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 videos and audio recordings (also on video) that you can be built up by.

While it is true that there are many good videos, and speakers, whom you might listen to and become encouraged by, it’s also good to try and understand what mechanisms might be at work that might start to make you “feel” discouraged. 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 spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend related? Is it related to a need for acceptance? Is there “no hope”? The Bible assures us that there is hope, and that God will help you.

“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)

For women, they may have more difficulty during their monthly period. 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! Really, we are in a spiritual war!

“... 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 6:18)

The above verse is taken from a larger context, which I encourage you to read, namely the book of Ephesians in the Bible. You can read that short book in perhaps 20 minutes or so, and it will really bless you. In the above passage, Paul talks about “fiery darts” of the evil one. What are they? These constitute “doubts” and “discouragements” that are, in fact, coming in on a “spiritual wavelength” that you can even feel in your soul. Yes, you feel it there, because you are a spiritual being. And you are actually “interacting” (or being bombarded by) another spiritual being, that is not far from you, when these things are happening. It is important to recognize that there is an unseen spiritual war going on. In fact, it’s vital you understand this!

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.” These are not your friends, and they can even put thoughts into your mind, that you might even think were your own thoughts. These would be thoughts like, “I will never make it in life.” “Why am I so stupid?” And, “No one will ever like me.” All of these can have their source in the demonic. Otherwise, you can “start the ball rolling” (by saying these things to yourself often enough), and you will actually attract demons by doing so! For demons love the atmosphere of self-condemnation. Jesus came to free us, not to condemn us! (But we must walk in a holy way after that, otherwise, we can 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, 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)

But note the condition in the above verse. It is for those who fear God. In other words, you must be intent on obeying him. If you disobey him, “all bets are off” and you can get ensnared and entrapped.

So what exactly is “pure and lovely”? For one, if you tuned in to one of those YouTube videos that I mentioned earlier, that would be putting your focus on something pure and lovely. So, you see, a “good word” can come in many forms. It can come through a person you meet on the street, who might be handing you a Bible pamphlet, or it might come through someone on YouTube, who has preached a good sermon. It could come through those gospel hymns, and it can come directly through the word of God, that is recited (and I really like Psalm 91 and others that I previously mentioned).

The Bible puts it this way (and I will quote 4 verses, because they are so good):

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)

How do you feel about these verses? Have you seen them before? Did you notice that it says that if you do these things, that “the God of peace will be with you”? Most people (if they are sincere) will agree that they are looking for peace. However, many people are “looking for peace but in all the wrong places.” I am not saying it is wrong to be a high achiever, but we must be certain that our goals are “in line” with God’s expectations.

One struggle some people face is in accepting God’s forgiveness, because they know they “messed up so badly.” But 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, and I can more than assure you, he is that good! As your homework, you can study Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:28, and then Luke 12:32. On top of that, you can read Psalm 103:12-13. And then how about reading Jeremiah 29:11? Perhaps a dose of James 5:16 might help you, as well. And, lest I forget, Hebrews 13:5. Read those. Study them. And let God speak to you through them. He surely will!

The other thing about the word of God is that it will challenge you! Your heart may be inclined to say, “No!” when you read (or listen to) the word of God. If you listen to Psalm 91, for example, you might say, “I cannot believe it!” But then if you say, “Lord, I am willing to believe it!” then that is faith, and God will bless you for that. Here is one of the passages you might have a hard time with, for example:

Because you have made Yahweh your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall happen to you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling. For he will put his angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:9-11)

But will God really do it? Not if you doubt! Hence, you will need to repent and purpose in your heart to believe even as you are listening! If you are currently afraid, or if you are predisposed to fear (and we are all, from time to time), then I would strongly encourage you to “get yourself into the word of God” in this manner. It can be through worship (singing), it can be through good videos, or other means, as long as it is wholesome and pointing in the right direction.

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 5:8, 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 called him and others like him, the “thief”. That is because he wants to steal your joy, your livelihood, your hope, your future. But you do not have to let him! It’s a war, and you must win this war! Your life, and the lives of others, is at stake. 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)

No one is blaming you for feeling discouraged. This can and does happen to all people. But you must not remain there. You have a decision to make. Will you remain in your discouragement, or will you get out of it? “But you do not understand my situation,” you may say. That is true. I do not. However, I do know what the Bible says. 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)

This passage seems “great,” and it is. It is a promise. But it is not given to all people. It is given only to those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. And it is possible for those who are Christians to “miss out” on the blessings of this passage, as a result of unbelief. So, in difficult times, you need to resolve to “have faith” and “trust God” at all times. Is that easy? Certainly not! We will all be tested.

The main message of this passage is, God will “not allow you to be tempted above what you are able”. That means when you are faced with a difficult situation, you can know that God will see you through (however, you must trust him). In some cases, this might mean you will lay down your life.

I did not say it would always be easy. While this prospect does not sound “too advantageous,” you will need to remember that in this life, in which we are still in our mortal (decaying) bodies, we believers are merely “passing through” for a short season. James puts it this way:

Whereas you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)

So then, what is your “end goal” in life? It is simply to be well fed? Or, is your “end goal” to please your master (that is, the Lord Jesus Christ)? But would our master, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, really ask us to give up our lives for him? In some cases, it does happen. In Revelation 2:10, Jesus says to the assembly at Smyrna,

“Do not be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

Although you may have been told that it is not God’s will for you to suffer (and on an eternal level that is quite true), yet for “a little while” you might suffer. Peter writes,

But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Peter knew the reality of suffering and had been exposed to persecution. And the Bible does say,

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

As I have now dealt with some (certainly not all) issues that you might face, I would like to ask you another question. How about your friend who has been suffering? How could you perhaps be used by God to bring encouragement to that person? For perhaps they have been crying out for encouragement, in their own despair. And God is asking you to encourage them.

I heard of an amazing story, once, where a man felt led to loudly pray right up against a wall for many days, even facing the wall and praying right into the wall. Later on, he found out that the person in the other room, who was very sick and in need of a miracle was miraculously healed. You can be like that to another person. You should also want to be like that to another person, because the Bible says,

Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

So as you sow mercy and grace towards others, mercy and grace will come back to you. Again, the passage goes on to say,

For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

Another thing I would like to bring to your attention (and this is important) is that God is in the refining business. None of us is perfect, and God is continually refining us like gold refined in the fire. This is what Romans 8:29 is all about (this comes after the famous Romans 8:28 verse, I will quote them both here).

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28-29)

So in the first verse (Romans 8:28), “all things work together for good for those who love God”. This presupposes you are actively loving God, and not disobeying him — since “love” in the Bible is an action, and not a feeling!

Then, in the second verse (Romans 8:29), God’s intention is to “conform us” to the image of Jesus. But is this life all there is? No! We are being prepared for something much greater! At this point in time, I would like to tell you what happens after we die. After believers die, they will meet the Lord in heaven. But life does not continue in heaven, forever, because Jesus is coming back to the earth!

When he returns, he will almost immediately give us new bodies (to those who have died). Others, who are still alive, will be “transformed” and also receive new bodies. Then, there will be a millennial rule — meaning Christ is going to reign for 1000 years on the earth (see Revelation 20:4-6). And you, too, will reign with him.

Paul also says it this way. (Note, this is a “snapshot” of what will happen. It is not the “entire picture.” But notice what he says in the last verse, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”)

But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

This is a classic “end time” passage and tells us that one day, Jesus is coming back for his people. We will indeed “meet the Lord in the air,” as Paul says. However, where do we go? It might seem a little confusing at first, until you piece it all together. Being in the “air” does not exist forever. It happens for a relatively short period of time. Then, we will all return to the earth and will rule with Christ for 1000 years. “Therefore comfort one another with these words,” Paul writes, because this is indeed encouraging!

If you are faithful, God promises you a great blessing. He will put you in charge of cities on this new earth! I view the following passage as being literal. And there is no reason to doubt it. Jesus said,

‘Well done, you good servant! Because you were found faithful with very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ (see Luke 19:17)

This passage foretells a time when Jesus will give out rewards to his followers — those who faithfully served him while they were on the earth. And, as we can see, those rewards amount to being in charge over cities. However, you may not want to be in charge over a city, and there are surely many more rewards, as well! Please read Luke 19:12-27 for the full story. In that story, we see that God expects us to be faithful with what he has entrusted to it. That could mean money, time, talents, people, etc. But what if we failed? In that case, we are to confess our sins and receive his forgiveness.

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

We are not to wallow in our failures, but truly receive his forgiveness by faith. Doing this is actually pleasing to God, and we are not to wallow in a form of false humility that says, “Woe is me because I’m such a bad person.” That is to doubt God’s ability to forgive us! Get back up! Move forward! And put your hand to the plough! For Jesus is indeed coming back, and his reward is with him!

Jesus said,

“Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12)

1. https://tractleague.com

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