Let us begin with the letter D. We need to DETERMINE that we will not remain discouraged. The two main key points here are DETERMINE and REMAIN… Discouragement in universal problem and it’s a fact that we all become discouraged. But what’s important is that once we become discouraged we need to DETERMINE that we won’t REMAIN discouraged. Now the difficulty of this, is that we must use mental discipline. The bible talks a lot about physical discipline and self-control. But, the bible also encourages us to have mental discipline.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he
This tells us something about mental discipline doesn’t it.
2Cor 10:5 tells about bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
It takes a great deal of mental discipline to do this. So we need to DETERMINE this morning that we are not going to REMAIN discouraged. Our god has bountifully given us his will and in his word he has given us effective ways for overcoming discouragement.
No look at Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.
Daniel had made up his mind and purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the kings delicacies. Its important that we be like Daniel and purpose in our heart that we will not remain discouraged.
Another good example of mental disciple is found in
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Again, we need to be like these men and exercise mental discipline by preparing hearts for God and for overcoming discouragement.
Now lets take a look at the letter I. Insist on finding the good in every situation. Do remember how we talked earlier about how God works all things to the good to those that love the Lord. Well when we understand this concept is only then that we can say what David did in
Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
You see David is saying that even affliction is good for me. Why David? Why was it good for you? He said, so that I might learn your statues. Sometimes affliction in our life is what causes us to turn our hearts back to the word of God. So, let us as Christians always try to find something good about every situation.
Now the letter S is Set realistic Goals that you can achieve. We must not set our goals to high nor should we set them to low. When you talk to people who have become discouraged you will find out that they have either set their goals so high that they can’t ever reach them or they have set them so low that in their heart of hearts they know that they can do more. Because of this discouragement will set it in. So don’t ever set your goals to high that you can’t achieve them and at the same time don’t ever refuse to challenge yourself and set your goals to low or discouragement will surely occur. Let’s examine some verses that will help us determine how to set realistic goals.
First of all we need to realize that we were made in the image of God Gen 1:27, and our God who has created us has given us abilities. In Mat 25 you read about a 5 talent man, a 2 talent man, and 1 talent man. All of them had a ability. You cannot find a place in the Bible where it talks about a no talent individual because God has never made such. If we use our abilities for the Lord God will bless them. Now look at
Mark 1:17 Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
I like this verse because at this time Jesus apostles were merely fisher of fish but Jesus tells them if you will follow me I will make you a fisher of men. If we will just follow Jesus in our lives today, he has the power to make us become more than what we have been. So, we are created in the image of God and God has blessed us differing abilities and by following Jesus both diligently and faithfully we have the power to become greater servants of God.
The letter C is CULTIVATE a positive outlook on life. Its no wonder why some Christians are discouraged just look at their outlook. Everything is pessimistic, everything is gloom and doom. We need to realize that we serve a living God who is all knowing and all powerful and has told us that he will make all things work together for good for those that love the lord. How in the world can a child of God go around with a pessimistic attitude. If anyone should cultivate a positive outlook on life it’s the child of God. We should be more optimistic that anybody on the face of the earth. Contemplate on this, Outlook determines outcome. Now if you don’t think that’s true let us go back to a context that we are familiar with in ,
Numbers 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."
God had already promised the land of Canaan, that land was already flowing with milk and honey. But, remember what happened, the people there became grasshoppers in their own site and in the site of their enemy. Outlook determined their outcome. They looked at themselves and said we cannot take the promise land and because that was their outlook that was their outcome. They did not take that land and they wandered for 40 years in the desert until God raised up a new generation and God wanted that new generation to have the spirit of Caleb and the spirit of Joshua. In Number 14:24 God says that Caleb had served him with a different spirit. I like that. We as Christians should all serve God with a different spirit. We should be like Caleb because when others were saying we can’t do it, Caleb was saying we can do it. So you see he had the proper outlook.
The letter O is OBSERVE Gods dealings with his children. When we do this we will be encouraged. I want you to look really hard and see if you can come up with one instance in the entire Bible where God ever forsook or failed someone. Guess what, your not going to find such an individual. This should be very encouraging to you. In fact when I think about how much mercy and how much love God had with the children of Israel who continually kept falling away from him I can’t help but be encouraged. Look at
Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
God stands on his promises and he will not forsake you. In fact listen to what Jesus said in John 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. So observing how God has never failed us should help us overcome discouragement.
The letter U is USE difficult times to strengthen your faith. There is no doubts about it we are going to encounter some difficult times in our life and you are either going to use those times to destroy or weaken your faith or to strengthen your faith. I hope that you will choose the latter. Remember what Job said in,
Job 14:1 "Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
That is so true because we will face difficulties throughout our lives, but don’t let those difficulties overwhelm you. Look at what Paul told Timothy in
2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
When we become Christians we become soldiers of Christ so lets us take this same advice and endure our hardships and grow from them. Look at one more passage in
James 5:10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Let us always strive to use difficult times in our life to grow stronger in our faith. Someone told me this once, when you think your problems are getting too big instead of drowning in them tell your problems how big your God is.
The letter R is RESIST your adversary the devil. You already know why we should resist him and I have already said that discouragement is one of his whiles and its one of his schemes. James tells us to resist him in,
James 4:7 Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Peter explains how we resist the devil in
1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
You see we are to resist the devil by being steadfast in the faith that means we have the confidence in knowing that we have power over Satan and if we resist him in whatever he throws our way he must flee because we are children of God. It should also be encouraging to us knowing that our brothers and sisters in Christ have experienced the same difficulties we have and they did not allow themselves to fall prey to discouragement. If they can overcome their discouragement than we can to.
The letter A is AVOID self-pity at all cost. This is what gets us in trouble sometimes. We will say nobody has ever had to deal with things like I have. In fact there may be someone here that has agreed with me so far on what I taught in this lesson but they might be saying Alex you really have no idea what I have been through my problems are so severe that I know no one else could possibly have it as bad as me. But whenever we look at passages such as 1Peter 5:9 that we just read a minute ago it tells us that our brothers and our sisters have experienced sufferings just like ours. I can’t emphasize it enough that discouragement is a universal problem and not a unique one. Besides all this I can guarantee you that your problems have never reached the severity of our Lords difficulties and the temptations that he faced while he was on this earth.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
When you start thinking you have it so bad just start thinking about Jesus and what he had to endure for you and for me on this earth. In fact look at
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The letter G it GET involved in the Lords work. Do you know why I say this? Because a hunter I can tell you that it is much harder to hit a moving target. It doesn’t surprise me that Satan overwhelms us at times because we are so stagnate and we are so idle at times that we make it easy for him. We really need to grasp this concept that it’s harder to hit a moving target so GET involved in the Lords work and be about the Fathers business as Jesus said to his parents in Luke 2:49. The bible teaches us not to be idle. In fact when Paul went around preaching the gospel he would tell them to repent, turn to God and do works befitting repentance. Acts 26:20. The more work we do for God the more we stay focused on him and the less time we have to become discouraged.
The letter E is ENCOURAGE others. This will help us tremendously. One of the best ways to combat discouragement is encouragement. So we need to be sure and encourage one another. We need to be more like people such as Barnabas. The apostles gave him this name because he was such a good encourager. The name Barnabas literally means son of encouragement. Acts 4:36. He was always trying to encourage those around him. We have another example found in,
1 Thessalonians 3:1 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.
You see Paul sent Timothy for the specific purpose of encouraging the Thessalonians to remain faithful to God even though they were suffering through many afflictions. So with this in mind we can see how important is for us to be encouragers like Timothy and Barnabas.
The letter M is MAKE prayer a daily habit. If you want help in overcoming discouragement well here it is. Jesus taught a parable that men always ought to pray and not loose heart. Luke 18:1 Now notice the implication in this verse. If we don’t pray as we ought we are going to lose heart. That’s what discouragement is, losing heart. If you are discouraged I can guarantee you this, either you have not been praying as you should or you have not been studying the word of God as you should. Now I am not saying this to be mean because this is what I have noticed in my own life as well. Besides all this we know that Jesus spent much time in prayer and we should to. In fact Jesus gave his apostles some very good advice in
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.
This is something we should always pray for on a daily basis that we not be lead into temptation. There is one thing that I am always reminded of when comes to praying. I always think about Daniel and how it was his custom to pray to God 3 times a day. You remember how the King was tricked into signing a decree that said anyone who prayed to a god other than the king would be cast into the lion’s den. Even though Daniel knew this decree was signed he was so dedicated to the Lord and knew how important prayer was that he prayed to God anyways. We are so blessed and honored to have the power of prayer so lets us not neglect to use it in overcoming discouragement.
The letter E is ESCAPE the past. Listen to what Paul wrote in
Phil 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul is teaching us that we SHOULD NOT hang on to the past we need to put it behind us and not let it drag us down. He also believes that a child of God must continually grow; there is no place for complacency in a Christian’s life and there is no place to stop, short of Heaven. That’s why Paul tells us to continually be reaching forward to heaven, keep your eyes on the prize.
A faithful Christian is one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness (Matt. 5:6); who lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4); and esteems the words from God's mouth more than his necessary food (Job 23:12); A Christian who is pressing forward will devote themselves to learning more about God’s way and doing their best to follow in Christ’s footsteps. A faithful Christian had dedicated their life to pleasing God and not themselves and they have strong desire to reach their goal of heaven. So let us always look forward toward heaven and press toward that goal doing our best not to allow our past to discourage us.
The letter N is NURTURE a patient spirit with yourself. Emphasizing YOURSELF.
1Thess 5:14 tells us to be patient with all men and if we are to be patient with all men surely that includes myself. Now I want you to think about what Ezra says in Ezra 10:13. He says, this is not a work that will be done in 1 or 2 days. In context the children of Israel had taken many foreigners as their wives which was not authorized by God and now they were going to have to put them all away. Ezra knew this would not be an easy task and certainly it would take more than 1 or 2 days. This same concept is true when it comes to nurturing and a patient spirit with yourself. As you grow up in Christ we need to realize that this is not something that’s going to happen in 1 or 2 days. It’s a lifetime of commitment and dedication to the lord daily. So don’t become discouraged with yourself because you don’t think your growing as fast as you should. As long as your trying to grow that is all that God wants from you. So try very hard to be patient with yourself.
Finally, the letter T is TAKE life one day at a time.
Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
To many times we allow ourselves to become discouraged because we are continually thinking about tomorrow. The bible tells us that we are to redeem the time for the days are evil Eph 5:16. This is why it’s important for us to focus in on today. Today has enough problems to keep us busy without dragging in tomorrow’s problems. So we as Christians need to work on this and take the advice of the word of God and Take life one day at a time.
- n D—Determine, We will not remain Discouraged
- n I—Insist on finding the good in every situation
- n S—Set Realistic Goals that you can achieve
- n C—Cultivate a positive outlook on life
- n O—Observe Gods Dealings with his children
- n U—Use Difficult times to strengthen your Faith
- n R—Resist your adversary the devil
- n A—Avoid self-pity at all cost
- n G—Get involved in the Lord’s Work
- n E—Encourage others
- n M—Make Prayer a daily habit
- n E—Escape the Past
- n N—Nurture A patient Spirit with yourself
- n T–Take life one day at a time