Really? A young man I mentor spent a large portion of his life discouraged. It had never occurred to him that it might be sin. Seemed like it was a condition brought on sort of naturally by adverse circumstances. You accept it and work your way through it. But if it is sin, then it can be overcome, because that is what Jesus died for. Made sense to him.
Some would say, “It can’t be sin because you can’t help it.” Could Elijah have helped it? He ran south under the threat of Jezebel. He surrendered to discouragement. It seemed out of character for one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament.
What about John the Baptist? “He must increase and I must decrease.” As he starts to decrease, it doesn’t feel good. Could he have avoided it or was discouragement inevitable? He received a gentle rebuke from Jesus. He didn’t have to give in to discouragement. He could have kept his eyes on Jesus during his imprisonment, but discouragement blinded him.
Can you avoid it or do circumstances stack up in such a way that losing your joy, your fire, your concentration, your ability to praise the Lord at all times evaporates? Satan has something to do with discouragement. He steals, kills and destroys.
Here are two ways to not be discouraged.
1.YOU DECIDE NOT TO BE. “Oh, come on. Not that easy.” Okay, how does a person overcome the temptation to cross the line and sleep with his girlfriend at 1 AM in her apartment? He decides. He leaves rather than playing with fire. It’s all in his mind. Same with any sin. You choose not to. After giving in too often to discouragement, I chose not to be discouraged when a ministry we had for ten years was going down–little by little. I had to lock the door on discouragement each week. I knew it was not inevitable. It wasn’t going to help me. It was going to render me incapable of helping others during this difficult time. It is selfish for a pastor, a parent, a leader, a mother, a young adult to give in to discouragement. When my friend saw it as a decision, it encouraged him that he could do it–and he did!
2. YOU SPEAK IN TONGUES. “Are you really saying that? You just speak in tongues?” Yes. The Bible says, “He that speaks in a tongue edifies himself.” That is one incredible Scripture that we read, smile at, and go on. Wait a minute. Do you know anyone overdosing on encouragement, that needs a little discouragement in his life? Okay, do you know anyone who is battling discouragement on a daily basis and needing to be built up? The infallible, unalterable, unchangeable Word of God tells us we are built up when we speak in tongues. “Doesn’t work for me. And it doesn’t build me up that much. I don’t feel any different actually.” Right, and because you don’t, you only do it once in a while, and you do not do it in faith. The greatest apostle the world has ever seen said, “I am glad that I speak in tongues more than you all.” Do you think that has anything to do with his response in the back of a dungeon, locked in clamps unjustly, beaten without cause, and it’s midnight? He leans over to Silas and says, “Do you know any good choruses?” He was choosing not to live by his circumstances but by the Word of God. It will work for you as well.