Every person faces discouragement in their life from time to come. The dictionary defines discouragement as the condition of being deprived of confidence, hope or spirit. Discouragement raises it’s ugly head when things seem to go wrong in our lives. A plan that we’ve had seems to be going no where. We may have work problems, or relational problems or health problems. The way we think our lives should go does not seem to be happening. So, our confidence, hope and spirits are dampened. If not checked, discouragement can lead to depression. Someone who is discouraged or depressed usually finds it difficult to know how to make the changes in their lives that will lead to increased confidence, hope and spirit. God’s Word gives us the principles, that with God’s help, can guide you to finding courage and hope for your life.
A discouraged person tends to live in the past, either a past of failures or a past of glory days, never to be repeated. God designed us as people to look to the future not the past. Take your eyes off the past, it’s history, and place them on the future. NIV Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” God wants to do a new thing in your life. No matter what has gone down in the past, God has a good plan for you, a plan that no one can thwart except you. If your life seems like a desert and wasteland, God wants to show you a roadway through that desert and lead you to streams of living water. Look to the future.
A discouraged person tends to withdraw from other people and hide away from relationships. The way out of discouragement is to draw strength from others. First and most importantly, God is there to give you strength and courage. God spoke to Joshua and He speaks to you: NLT Joshua 1:5 For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. God will not force Himself upon you, but He is there, if you will but reach out to Him. He is always as close as your breath. He is never more than a whisper away. Ask Him for strength, submit your life to Him.
A discouraged person doesn’t want to do anything. Sometimes they don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. If God has a good plan for your future and He is there to give you strength, then you’ve got to get up and take action to follow that plan. Draw courage and strength from God and God’s family, the church, to take action in your life. If you do nothing, nothing will change in your life. God spoke to Joshua and He speaks to you: NLT Joshua 1:9 I command you– be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” God never commands someone to do something that He does not empower them to do. So when God commands you to be strong and courageous, you can do it! When God commands you to not be afraid or discouraged, you can do it! Why? Because He will be with you wherever you go.
God will show you His plan for your life as you study, meditate on and obey God’s Word written down in the Bible. The only path to success in life is through a relationship with Jesus Christ and obedience to God’s Word. NLT Joshua 1:8 Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.
For a more indepth treatment of this topic, listen to my February 6, 2005 message entitled Bringing Out The Best In Others