Starting with a post in July 2016 I created a category on this blog that I call “Don’t Be Discouraged”. In the almost two years since, I’ve published several post ranging from “Why We Shouldn’t Envy Those Who Do Not Know God And Still Appear To Prosper”. To the latest “We Need You Lord, Heal This Land”, to encourage us to not become discouraged because of all the senseless violence that we see today.
Since that post, written right after the shootings and murder at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, we’ve more and more violence including a shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville, TN, a restaurant shooting in Oklahoma City, OK, a terrorist attack with a truck in Paris, and another act of violence that took innocent life at Santa Fe High School,in Santa Fe, TX. We live in a fallen world full of sin and evil, and we know that these kinds of things will continue, and even get worse, until God finally decides to end it all with the return to the earth of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24:4-14 (NLT2)4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NLT2)1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
Mark 13:14-20, 34 (NLT2)14 “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.15 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.16 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.17 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.18 And pray that your flight will not be in winter.19 For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again.20 In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days. 32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
While we can take some comfort in knowing that these evil days will come to and end, and if we who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior die before they end we will be at peace with the Lord, along with those believers who are alive when Jesus returns; the evil, violence, greed, and selfishness of this time can still frustrate and discourage us. If we knew when there will be no more sickness, pain, violence, or death we must fight to not become discouraged.
Discouragement is a powerful weapon of our enemy Satan and as I've said in other posts our best defense against him is to counter attack with our most powerful weapon, the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:17 (NLT2) Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (emphasis mine)
In my post “Don’t Become Trapped By Discouragement” I wrote;
When you fall into the trap of discouragement, there is no joy or contentment, no matter what you do.
I call it a trap because as I’ve written before we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare, and In spiritual warfare the weapons are not physical they are spiritual and the battlefield is your mind (The Mind is the Battlefield of in Spiritual Warfare)
Put your hope in God who loves you.
We all face disappointment from time to time, but don’t fall into its trap. When you fall into the trap of discouragement you can’t focus on anything other than the current circumstance. Discouragement if not dealt with can become depression. When you are trapped by discouragement you make poor decisions based on emotion not truth. Then our natural tendency is to look for someone to blame. You start to blame yourself, other people even God. God wants us to trust Him with everything including our unmet expectations.
Psalm 42:11 (NLT)11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Remember God’s purpose for you.
Romans 8:28-30 (NLT)28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
10 Crucial Weapons Against Discouragement
by Jana Duckett, from her beliefnet.com article “10 Crucial Weapons Against Discouragement”
Self-defeating discouragement is the tool that the enemy often uses against us. In order to stand firm in faith, one must be ever-filled with God’s truth. Here are ten ways to pummel discouragement and live victoriously. (Scriptures added by me)
Thoughts have to be filtered or else they will leave you vulnerable to the enemy’s trick of making you think that every thought that comes to mind originated with you. This is why the Apostle Paul admonishes us to take our thoughts captive and reject those that fail to submit to The Word of God. If it doesn’t agree with God, kick it out.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NIV For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. (emphasis mine)
Pull the plug on negativity. Find out what’s feeding it in your life: could be a person, a song, television show or a bad habit. Negativity wears down the inner life making it more susceptible to discouragement. The joy of The Lord is your strength and helps to build a wall of defense.
Nehemiah 8:10 NIV Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Fellowship with the Trinity
Make time to be with the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit. It’s hard to hang out with This Dynamic Trio and be discouraged. They will cover you like a strong tower fortifying your spirit with courage, love, and wisdom.
Romans 15:30 NIV I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
1 Peter 1:1-2 NIV Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Store the Word
Hide the Word of God in your heart. The permanent Word of God disarms and dismantles false-ides that come at us. Scripture creates a shield of faith that quenches these fiery darts, rendering them useless. The only power that Satan has over you is what you choose to give him either through ignorance or forfeiting your power.
Psalm 119:11 NIV I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Daily prayer creates a force field around you in the spirit realm. We do not understand how powerful this weapon truly is. Prayer is not bound by time or geography. It can create a spiritual protective force field around your marriage, community, and the nation.
1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18 NIV Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
It’s been said that worry is a terrible misuse of the imagination. The same outcome you’re imagining that’s bringing anxiety could be turned around and perceived through the lens of faith. Cultivate a faith-filled imagination, not a worry-filled one.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Imitate God’s Thinking
Challenge yourself to see life circumstances from God’s vantage point. As children, we should be trustingly dependent on Him knowing that He is working all things out for an overall good outcome on our behalf. You are made in His image, start thinking like it.
Philippians 4:8-9 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Accept you will make mistakes
At times you will make mistakes and fall short. Know that God already anticipated these decisions. Your wrong turn is not a surprise to God. Jesus Christ is His rescue plan for you. When the enemy tries to bury you in what went wrong, remind Him of what Christ did right and walk in the inheritance of Christ’s victory.
Romans 3:22-24 NIV This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
1 John 1:8-10 NIV If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Vent your frustration
We don’t have to try to keep a straight face for God because He knows what’s in our hearts. If there’s something troubling your spirit, get to the bottom of it right away. Don’t try to hide or dismiss it. Leaving this area unattended could create a foothold, which leads to a stronghold.
Psalm 73:3 NIV For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Habakkuk 1:2-4 NIV How long, Lord , must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
Focus on the blueprint, not the rough draft
God speaks to the blueprint that He infused in Your spirit. That good and perfect plan for your life lies trapped within until God reveals Himself to us while at the same time revealing us to ourselves. Stop focusing on the rough draft when God is committed to bringing the blueprint to fruition.
Romans 8:29-39 NIV For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.