David and his band of men had just returned to Ziklag to find the town burned and their wives and children carried off by the Amelekites. To say that they were discouraged is a mighty understatement. They wept bitter tears until they could weap no more. Then they talked of killing David their leader! He was in trouble, demoralised, discouraged, dreams shattered wondering whether they would ever be fulfilled. It could have destroyed him and his leadesrhip completely, except for one thing/ David enouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Sam 30:6).
It was a big choice he had to make. There was no-one around to encourage him. He had to get courage again to get going again. So he encouraged himself, not in himself, but in his God. David’s life and mission wasn’t just about himself, it was about what God had called him to do. Having encouraged himself, he was able to get going and solve the problems.
You do not have to stay discouraged.
1) As a Christian in relationship with Jesus Christ, He has committed himself to care for you and be with you in every situation. Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you or forsake you.” Think on how God does that. Most likely David would have chewed on one of his Psalms – 103
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Reviewing the benefits of knowing God is pretty encouraging! The New Testament exhorts us to pray without ceasing and with thankfulness. Making a list of things to be thankful for it a great courage builder.
2) Stop listening to yourself and start speaking to yourself. It’s one of my favourite Martyn Lloyd Jones quotes – he says to many people sprend too much time listening to themselves rather than preaching to themselves.
- Stop listening to the lives of the devil; start speaking the promises of God
- Stop speaking out of fear and start speaking out of faith
- Stop talking about your problems and start speaking out solutions
Find what the Bible says about your situation and start speaking it out in faith!
One of the Hebrew words for meditate translates literally as “Murmur” – start murmuring faith!
3)Anchor your joy in Jesus and his presence, rather than self medicating with alcohol, chocolate, shopping or pornography.
Psalm 100:4 exhorts us “Enter his gates with thanksgiving,and his courts with praise!Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
In the book of Nehemiah, the Israelites have finished rebuilding the wall round Jerusalem and are shocked to discover how wayward they have been in their relationship with God. Nehemiah sends them off to feast, send food to the poor and re-anchor their joy in God Neh 8:10 “Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'” There is something very encouraging about enjoying good food and wine with friends and anchoring your joy in God at the same time. It brings strength and encouragement.
4) Put on the armour of God! Paul uses the Roman armour as a metaphor for secure protection in God
- We have the truth of God’s Word, the righteousness of Christ and the gospel of peace at work on our behalf.
- We have the helmet of salvation to guide and direct our thoughts.
- We have the shield of faith to quench the enemy’s fiery darts. Discouragement is most certainly one of the devil’s fiery darts.
- And we have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This is the offensive weaponthat silences the voice of discouragement and all the lies of the devil. Praying in the Spirit and especially in tongues is a great courage builder
5)What has God promised? After the first four steps, it’s time to review what God has promised propehtically and in Scripture and pray it in to being, trusting in God to do it and to work hard at going for it, knowing that God works in you!