Knock Out Discouragement

 

Discouragement is unique in that it does not always hit us the same way every time. Sometimes it is a freight train coming straight at us and other times it is a blind side tackle out of nowhere.  Let’s face it, if you are human, you are going to face discouragement.  As many times as we “knock out” discouragement it somehow gets back up and swings another punch.  As we look to some of the Bible’s top leaders we find out an interesting character trait of discouragement.  The lowest of lows will hit after the highest of highs.

In 1 Kings 18 Elijah lays out an amazing challenge with the prophets of Baal. God shows His power, and consumes Elijah’s sacrifice.  He burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil, and all the water that had been poured on it!  Elijah has the 450 prophets of Baal seized and killed.  Boom, an amazing day of victory!  Miracles are happening, God is doing great things, and suddenly here comes discouragement. Elijah gets afraid, runs for his life, and prays for God to take his life.  He went from a HERO to a ZERO in less than 24 hours.

The same thing happened to Moses.  He delivers the people out of Egypt, they cross the Red Sea onto dry land.  He experiences miracle after miracle: the fire by night to keep them warm, the cloud by day to keep them cool, and supernatural manna provided every day for food.  The people begin to grumble, the negative influence starts to swallow the good.  Finally Moses gets to the place of discouragement that he says to God, “The burden is too heavy for me.  If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now!”  This is pretty heavy stuff.  Both men got to the point of discouragement in their lives that they preferred death over their current circumstances.

So let’s take a quick look at some of the causes of discouragement and the way we counter balance them.  One of the first things that can so easily happen to us is to allow our focus and attention to be misdirected.  Are you like me?  After a service, twenty-five people can tell me how much they enjoyed the sermon and one member can tell me they “didn’t really get anything out of that” and I get discouraged.  That is too much misplaced attention. If our life is a satellite dish, where do you choose to aim your dish, to the positive or the negative?  Elijah gave way too much attention to the words of Jezebel.  God had just proven Himself strong!  But what happened?  Elijah allowed fear to enter.

Second, fear is the doorway to discouragement.  Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.  And when we live by fear it will always take us to the desert where it is dry, hot, lonely, and deserted. When we listen to fear it will never give us an encouraging word or a good report!  We are called to live and walk by faith and not by sight.  When fear talks we should hit the mute button.

Fatigue can compound discouragement greatly.  Mother Theresa said, “To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.”  Our brains create a chemical called serotonin.  It is a chemical like an endorphin – a natural feel good hormone that feeds our brain throughout the day and fuels us as we work.  However, it is only replenished during times of rest.  If you drive yourself without replenishing, your store of serotonin will be depleted.  Then you start to replace it with adrenaline which is supposed to be used for emergency use only.  Now we are running on our reserve emergency tank and when that runs out we find ourselves in the fetal position crying and saying, “God just take me home.”  When all we really need is to feed our body, exercise, get plenty of rest and look to God for His guidance. A very encouraging verse in the midst of uncertainty and discouragement is found in Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known; along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them”. Sometimes fear and fatigue can leave you blind.....but God is always present.

Remember, current situations and circumstances are not normally final or fatal.  There is always room for hope.  Who knows what is just around the corner?  Look to God for solutions to the problems you face.  Daily fill yourself up with a good dose of ENCOURAGEMENT to offset the discouragement that may hit you that day.

 

 

By: Pastor David Jones