The Lord Jesus knows first hand how discouragement feels and how to overcome it. His frustration with both critics and disciples is an example for us to learn and draw strength from, see Matthew 17:17, Mark 9:19, Luke 9:41 & John 14:9, he also met exhaustion and needed strengthened, Matthew 4:11. The following discussion is not about biological, hormonal imbalances or human chemistry causing depression, but we are here considering what every human faces; frustrating discouragement from circumstances out of our control. Even Jesus, who was in control, found himself hurt, betrayed, lonely, sorrowful and at times exasperated with discouraging reactions from people he tried so hard to serve, yet He never gave up in trying to love them. When we are met with negativity, criticism or outright opposition, we can suffer discouragement. That feeling is often intense and can cause our hearts to despair. Therein is a spiritual disease akin to the sin of idolatry. We can easily start loving self-comfort instead of God’s comfort.
SEVERAL WAYS THE GOD OF COMFORT CAN HELP US OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT:
A. Go do something for someone else: Matthew 10:39. If you dig someone else out of their troubles, you’ll have a hole to bury your own in.
B. Remember and memorize the things in life that are as bright as the promises of God. Trust God and take time to rejoice in his promises, 2nd Peter 3:9, Philippians 4:8.
C. Look for ways in which your burdens actually might become bridges, Philippians 1:12 & 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18. My wife’s three miscarriages actually became the way by which she comforted, counselled and encouraged many other women who were lost in grief.
D. Remember Jesus said to “separate yourselves and rest awhile”, Mark 6:31. The devil desires to use people that are tired and defiles them, but Jesus gives rest to people who are tired and inspires them.
E. Don’t be wary of talking to yourself, Matthew 9:20-22, and then talk to God in prayer. We must always take the causes of our discouragement to the Lord, Philippians 4:6-7.
F. Accept the fact that God knows you are valuable and needed in His Kingdom work, while going through discouragement, we must refuse to wallow in self-pity. In God’s eyes a Christian is too valuable for self-pity, Matthew 10:31, 1st Corinthians 12:13-27.
G. Never forget that a Christian is never alone, 1st Peter 3:12-14, Hebrews 13:5-6, Matthew 28:18-20 & 2nd Timothy 4:17, His loving presence is with us.
H. God has promised that no temptation has overtaken a Christian that is not common to humanity, He is faithful and he will not let us be tempted beyond our ability, but with the temptation God will also provide a way of escape that we may be able to endure, 1st Corinthians 10:13. Therefore we have many reasons to rejoice in God’s comfort and refuse to “self-comfort” when we are burdened with discouragement or frustration.