GETTING UP WHEN YOU’RE DOWN: DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT PART 4

RISING ABOVE DISCOURAGEMENT

Having gone through the valleys and dark nights of discouragement, all of us should know by now that discouragement is a killer. It kills as it slowly takes our strength, our joy, our courage and faith, away from us. Brethren, it is this knowledge of what discouragement does that must prompt us all to put discouragement far from us. We must resist it and rise above it when the way gets hard and Satan decides he wants to walk with us and talk to us about the hardness of God’s ways.

It’s always easier not to resist or do anything about what’s bothering us. But the more we let discouragement work, and the longer we allow ourselves to be discouraged, the harder it is to rise above it. Why is that? Because we get weaker and more apathetic with each passing hour and with each passing day. It’s hard to do something when you’re too weak to do it and when you don’t even care about doing it. The time to deal with discouragement is now! Let’s nip it in the bud before the venom of fiery serpents takes its toll.

l. DELIVERANCE, HEALING, AND A NEW LEASE ON LIFE BEGIN WITH REPENTANCE.  The first thing you need to do when you’re discouraged is repent for the moaning and bellyaching you’ve done. In all likelihood, if you’re discouraged, you’ve done some of that. You’ve let the Lord and other people know how you feel about the hardness or unreasonableness of this Christian life.

If you read our Scripture text carefully, you’ll see that the Israelites didn’t complain to God. They complained to Moses. But in God’s sight, complaining to Moses was the same thing as complaining to God Himself: And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread (Num. 21:5).

When the Lord chastised them and brought them to repentance, the people admitted they had spoken or complained against the Lord: Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee (Num. 21:7a). While the people complained to Moses, God saw them as complaining to Him. When the Lord dealt with them about it, the people saw their sin and action from God’s perspective. They saw it the same way God saw it: “When we complained to Moses we were also complaining to the Lord!”  Friends, you need to know that when you complain about the hardness of God’s ways, you’re automatically complaining to the Lord. That’s the way the Lord sees it and that’s the way you’ll eventually see it when the fiery serpents start biting.

Now there’s no doubt the way is hard. The children of Israel had to go around the land of Edom. They had to go through barren desert land. There was nothing imaginary or made-up about the people’s circumstances or about the people’s complaints. What the people were complaining about was true! The way was hard!  But JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE VALID, LEGITIMATE THINGS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD COMPLAIN. IT DOESN’T MAKE COMPLAINING RIGHT.

Brethren, the hardness of the Christian life should not be made a matter of complaint! Why? Because complaining doesn’t do any good. I’m wondering if I can just stop here and let these last five words sink fully into our heart: complaining doesn’t do any good! To the contrary, it makes matters worse and it gets you into trouble with God. When the way got tough, the people complained: And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. (5a) And the people spake against God, and against Moses (Num. 21:4,5a).

  • Now notice that when the people complained about the way, their complaints did not make the way easier. In fact, the way got harder because the people now had to deal with fiery serpents crawling and biting all over the place.
  • When the people complained about their trials, their complaints did not stop or take away their trials. Their complaints brought on more trials (really, chastisement) and these added trials-so-called were even deadlier than the trials that they were already going through with water and food. Their added trials killed many of them.
  • The people’s complaints did not change God’s mind about the way He had chosen for them to go. When God heard their complaints He did not change His mind about the detour around the land of Edom. God stuck to His way. He did not make it easier for the people, He did not choose an easier way.
  • The people’s complaints did not stop them from going the way God wanted them to go. Even though it was harder, more inconvenient, and more time- consuming, God wanted them to go around the land of Edom. That’s the way He led them and that’s the way they went. Their bellyaching did not stop them from going through the trial: they still had to go through it.
  • The only way the people could get out of having to go God’s way was death. Those who didn’t like God’s way and who didn’t repent of their complaining ended up not going God’s way. They died.

The people’s complaints, I am saying, didn’t do them any good. It didn’t help them. When God dealt with them about their complaints, the people had only one choice: either repent or die.

When we complain today because of the hardness or unreasonableness of the way and of the Word, the choice is not as clear-cut because there aren’t any literal fiery serpents around to kill us. We can complain and still live through it: God doesn’t strike us dead. And because He doesn’t strike us dead, that makes it easier for us to go on ahead and complain without giving much thought about the need to repent. No serpents, no confession. No chastisement, no repentance.

You see, it was the chastisement of fiery serpents that brought the people to repentance. If God hadn’t sent the serpents, they would have kept up their complaints. But the serpents brought their complaints to an end: it brought them to confession and repentance of sin.

Brethren, just because God hasn’t sent you the serpents yet doesn’t mean it’s alright for you to keep on complaining about God’s way; just because God’s hand of chastisement hasn’t got ahold of you yet doesn’t mean you don’t need to repent. Friends, now is the time to repent. Do you need serpents before you will repent?  Complain all you want–complaining will not do you any good!

Notice in the text of Scripture that WHEN THE WAY GOT TOUGH, IT GOT EVEN TOUGHER WHEN THE PEOPLE COMPLAINED ABOUT IT. People started dying all over the place because of the serpents. However, it was repentance that brought the bellyaching to an end: it was repentance that brought healing and a new lease on life. When the people repented, God saved them from death.

Brethren, when the way gets tough and you don’t feel like it’s right, you don’t feel like going on, the answer is not to complain. If you do complain, then you need to know that you stand in need of repentance. Without repentance, you, like the Israelites, will ultimately die. The easy way will kill you (Matthew 7:13).Your faithlessness will kill you  (Hebrews 4:11).Your departure from God and His truth will kill you (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Peter 3:17).

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 5. I’ll continue to show you how you can get up when you’re down. The cool thing is, it really isn’t that hard—not if you have a mind to get up and enjoy life again. You’re not doing it alone: God will help you. Check in next time for a lift.

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