Recently I have been struggling with discouragement. I share this not to complain, but because I would like to share how the Lord is helping me to battle against it. If we as Christians always "look like we've got it all together" we will never be an encouragement to others and we will hinder ourselves from honest transparency and growth.
The other morning when I was really feeling discouraged, the Lord brought to my mind that I need to speak His truth to myself. I don't need to focus on the circumstances - I need to focus on truth, on God's word, on His commands, on His promises. So, praying for help and guidance, I started studying.
The first thing I did was start with scriptural commands that applied to me:
Do not fear
Do not be anxious
Sometimes we forget what God has commanded. by being fearful and anxious I am in disobedience to Him. That's not where I want to be!
Next, I started looking for passages of scripture that applied to what I was struggling with.
The Lord directed my steps to this passage in Numbers. Once I found this passage, I started thinking on application. Here is the passage, and my thoughts on it.
"And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people."
- Numbers 21:4-7 -
The people were discouraged because of the difficulty of the way they were called to walk. Because of this discouragement they began to complain and speak against the Lord and the man God had appointed to lead them. The Lord punished them severely for their attitude.
When things get hard we must:
- Make sure we are in the way God has called and that we are following the leadership and guidelines He has placed before us. Sometimes difficulty comes when we are walking in disobedience. I must make sure I am not creating my own cross.
- When things get difficult, don’t look at the circumstances. We must keep the end goal in mind. We are pilgrims being called to another realm. The temporal is only a tool and means in His hand.
- Do not lose heart. Speak truth to yourself. My greatest fears come not from reality but from what I imagine could happen. Fear comes from the “what if” and the “how is this going to work?” God didn’t give the children of Israel a detailed plan for getting out of Egypt to living in the promised land. He just guided them step by step.. I must be willing to just follow His leading step by step.
- Do not complain. We must not grumble against the way the Lord is leading us. Everything is part of His plan, so we must take it patiently as that. We must have faith, trust, and obey. We must choose to be thankful for His plan and for His guidance. We must refuse to complain because of difficulty or uncertainty. This will keep us from becoming blinded by discouragement.
- If I have sinned by not walking in the way God would have for me, by not obeying the guidance He has given me, or by complaining against how He is working, I must confess this and repent of it. I must turn my heart, and ask the Lord to turn my heart, to thankfulness and trust. Start speaking the truths of God’s word to your heart and thanking Him for the ways He is working in the circumstances in your life for your sanctification.
I was so thankful for how the Lord directed me during this time, and am continuing to study His word for truth to use. The battle is not over, but He has given me weapons to fight with, and by His grace I am seeking to win each battle as it comes. I hope that as I've shared this that it has been at least a small encouragement to some. The Lord is always with us - closer than any battle we are fighting - and with Him we can always win!
"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 -