Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dealing with Discouragement by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Galatians 6:9
And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

A story is told about a public auction that the devil had. As the prospective buyers assembled, they noticed Satan was selling his tools of worry, fear, lust, greed and selfishness. But off to one side, standing alone, was one well-worn tool labeled "Not for sale."

Asked to explain, the devil replied, "I can spare my other tools, but this is the most useful implement that I have. With it I can work my way deep into hearts otherwise inaccessible. It is the tool of discouragement."

What tools do we need to overcome discouragement? First, truthfulness. I've found that God is not fooled by my lofty prayers for the missionaries in Africa, when deep inside I'm hurting. God is able to handle your emotions. Be honest with yourself and God about your disappointment.

Second, pray about it. Are you discouraged about a child who rarely reaches your expectations? Tell God. Disheartened about your mate and an unresolved conflict? God knows already, but pour it out.

Third, find the source of your discouragement. Sometimes it's a goal that was not attained...again. Or the problem may be a friend's cutting remark, or the feeling that you're carrying a particularly heavy burden alone, or the lack of approval by an important person in your life.

By isolating the source of my discouragement, I often find my hope was in the wrong person or in the wrong place. Or I find my response was normal-and, because I can't quit, I've just got to work through my feelings of wanting to toss in the towel.

Fourth, with a heart of faith look beyond your circumstances and your emotions to a God who will renew you day by day. Realize that God uses hardship to perfect our faith (see Rom. 5:1-10). God promises that we'll one day reap if we don't grow weary.

Get on your knees and pray that neither of you would grow weary and lose heart.

Discuss: What is causing discouragement for you right now? Which of the tools do you need to use to combat discouragement?

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