Victory over Discouragement

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)

Everyone gets discouraged along the way.  Life is hard, people disappoint and hurt us, we lose our way, our hopes and dreams don’t come true, God’s ways confuse us at times, our enemy attacks, and numerous other things cause us to become discouraged.  BUT we do not have to remain discouraged. A great leader named Nehemiah, in 445 BC, was used by God to lead discouraged and defeated people to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem amidst tremendous difficulties.  Here are five principles from Nehemiah 4 that will help us:

  1. Face Problems Head On (v.13) – Nehemiah led the people to stop working and guard the “exposed places.”  Don’t keep running hard and refuse to deal with realities.  Huddle up, face the problem and deal with the issues.
  2. Focus on God (v. 14) – Nehemiah reminded the people to look at God, not their enemies or the unfinished work/rubbish.  He restored their vision by reminding them that God is sovereign and powerful.  He is greater than any problem we face.  Some problems are huge, but always remember that your God is greater!  Enlarge your view of God, and everything else will seem rather small.  Side point: we need friends who remind us of the greatness of God.  Be careful who you allow to give you counsel.  If they are not walking with God, their counsel will lack power and true wisdom.
  3. Get Back on Mission (vv.15-17) – They went back to work on the wall.  Idleness, apart from a season of waiting on God, is usually not a good thing.  Progress dispels discouragement.  A good phrase to recall when you lack motivation, is “Get up, suit up and do the next thing.”  We were designed by God to be on mission, moving forward, advancing the cause, and actively pursuing a vision.  The enemy’s objective is to distract and derail us.  Refuse to let that happen!
  4. Work with Others (vv. 18-20) – Nehemiah had them work in families and developed a system so that if anyone needed extra support, others could rally to help.  Ecclesiastes 4:9,12 tells us “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Let someone know what’s going on with you.  Don’t try to carry the load alone.  The enemy wants to isolate you from the pack.  There is safety and support in numbers, so stay connected to people who really care.
  5. Stay Alert (vv. 21-23) – Nehemiah wisely had some people work while others stood guard.  They stayed focused on the task at hand, while also staying alert to the reality of future attacks.  Each person had a responsibility, one to work, the other to watch.  Be accountable to and for another person.  Let them know your “weak places,” and know theirs as well.  True partnership is a powerful and effective force.

Aren’t you grateful for the greatness of our God?  He knows all, sees all, and controls all.  You are His child, and He loves you more than you can fathom.  When problems overwhelm you and discouragement comes upon you, trust Him to give you victory.  Remember, because He wins, we win!

Jeff Wilson

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