What is Discouragement?
According to Dictionary of Bible Themes, discouragement is “A sense of unhappiness arising from a loss of confidence in one’s own abilities, in the reliability of God or in the power of the gospel. Discouragement can occur in the Christian life, especially when there is resistance to the gospel or in instances of personal failure.” We can overcome discouragement Biblically.
Discouragement can bring us down. We’re working really hard on a project and it seem to be going backwards. No matter what we do, nothing works. We want to throw up our hands and quit. If our discouragement continues it can become a problem that takes hold of our life and doesn’t let go. We want to go for help that works.
Three levels of discouragement
Understanding more about the obstacle of discouragement can help us be on guard against allowing it to escalate into depression. Below are three levels of discouragement.
- Mild discouragement is overcome quickly and a fleeting emotion.
- Strong discouragement affects our spirit and can be discerned by others.
- Severe discouragement can cause enough stress to interfere with our daily life. Institute in Basic Life Principle
Going to the Lord with our problem is the first place to go. Finding someone to talk to can help overcome discouragement. A pastor or Christian counselor would be a good source.
What Causes Discouragement
Nehemiah was well aware of this problem as he was trying to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem after Judah had return from exile in Babylon. Although a different time, the causes are the same and we can relate.
- Ridicule: “When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Nehemiah 4:1-2 NIV.
- Criticism: “Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” Nehemiah 4:3-4 NIV
- Fear: “They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” Nehemiah 4:7-8 NIV
- Fatique: “Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10 NIV
Through all of these obstacles, Nehemiah stood strong in the Lord and encouraged the people to depend on the Lord in prayer.
"When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work." Nehemiah 4:15 NIV
This is good advice for us to listen to when we become discouraged. The Lord is there when we feel like we are undertaking a job we cannot handle. He will give us the tools we need to succeed as we rely on Him to get us through.
Overcome Discouragement Verses
As we are looking to overcome discouragement Biblically, it offers many verses to help us to find strength in Him. Here are some to encourage us.
- “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’“
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
“And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8 NIV
Jesus is telling the disciples to continue to pray and not give up. In the parable the judge is not interested in justice but in pacifing himself. How great God is because He loves and cares for us and wants what is best.
- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NIV. When we are overcome in discouragement, the Lord is at our side ready to help us, all we have to do is ask.
- “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV. We all need encouragement and strength in our weakness, even young people need the Lord. Reaching out for His power enables us to carry on and overcome discouragement.
Overcome Discouragement Biblically
The key to overcoming discouragement is relying on Jesus Christ to give us His strength. He promises us to be there when ever we need him and he wants us to call on Him. Reading scripture and prayer can do more for a discouraged heart than anything else.
Prayer provides a place of security and trust like nothing else. The person we are addressing has more love than anyone else could express. Tell Him what’s bothering you and how it makes you feel. He understands because He has been there. He is not God alone but a man who has walked this earth.
The Bible is not an ordinary book. We cannot look on it in the same manner as other books. Within its pages are words that are alive, quick and pierce to the soul. These words really work.
At first it may be inhibiting as we begin to read scripture but we have the Holy Spirit to guide us if we know Jesus as our Savior. If we genuinely search the scripture, it will begin to teach and comfort our heart. There we will find our strength.
After seeking God for strength, we may want to talk to a trusted friend or our pastor. It can be encouraging to talk to likeminded people who have gone through similiar circumstances.
A Prayer for Discouragement
My Heavenly Father.
I want to praise your Holy name for who you are
and how you love me.
Thank you for the privilege of prayer,
because of what you Son did for me,
When my heart is heavy and I am discouraged,
my thoughts turn to you.
I need your strength to overcome my weakness
and regain your peace that passes all understanding.
I give You all the praise and honor
In Jesus Name,
Discouragement can be a heavy load, especially as we are trying to accomplish a project. We can feel as if we are wasting our time or depression can begin to creep in.
We do not have to allow it to upset our lives. There is a source that is readily available who loves us and wants the best for us. Reach out and let Him know your needs. You will be blessed.