When the way gets tough and discouraging you’ve got to fight back and endure. Instead of resigning yourself to what’s going on and wallowing deeper and deeper into self-pity, murmuring and discouragement; you’ve got to do something good for yourself and that is fight back and endure.

(A)  A True Perspective Of Discouragement.  Most people tend to see discouragement in terms of what’s going on around them and what’s happening to them: they look at the way life is going and because life isn’t going very well at the moment, they get discouraged.  While these things that are happening to you cannot be denied, you must nevertheless get a fresh or a true perspective of discouragement and see discouragement not so much in terms of people, situations, or the Lord’s demands; but rather, in terms of Satan coming against you, attacking you, discouraging you, and trying to get you to quit.

Satan is using what’s happening to you–he’s working through it all–to get you to quit the journey and give up on the Lord: “The Lord’s way is just too hard! The Lord is just too unreasonable!”  And if the devil can’t get you to quit, he’ll at least try to get you to have lousy attitudes and start criticizing and complaining. Why? Because Satan knows that a bad attitude and a bad mouth will get you into trouble with God (i.e. the fiery serpents of God’s chastisement). And when you get into trouble with God, the potential is there for you to get even more discouraged, thus increasing the likelihood of you giving up on the Lord. Discouragement, I am saying, is a spiritual warfare. Satan is out to get your soul!

(B)  A Time To Fight Back.  Viewed in this light, discouragement is not a time for self-pity, but rather, a time to fight back and fight for your life. I’m talking about fighting the devil back and resisting those spirits of self-pity, discouragement, despair, criticism, complaining, and any others that might be coming against you. Quit feeling sorry for yourself! Take authority over these demons and command them to cease their activity against you and go in the Name of Jesus. Instead of listening to them tell you how rotten God, Christianity and the Church are; refuse to listen to them, control your mind and what you think on, and keep your mind under the blood of Jesus. Friend, you’ve got to quit listening to the devil!  Quit listening to his lies! Instead of letting the devil hang around to talk to you some more, command him to go away in the Name of Jesus.

You’ve not only got to take authority over the devil and your mind: you’ve also got to take authority over your emotions. Discouragement is an emotion common to all human beings. You’ve got to fight back and refuse to get discouraged over what’s happening to you: tell yourself you’re not going to feel that way and stop yourself when you begin to feel discouraged. It’s a real discipline and it takes a lot of work, I know. But then, working to stay alive has always involved a lot of work.

Ask a climber trapped high atop a mountain, or a camper lost in a vast wilderness; ask a survivor trapped underneath the rubble of a building, or a soldier in the midst of war. It’s a fight to stay alive when you’re being threatened with death. Overcoming discouragement is a fight: it takes work. And no one can do it for you but you yourself.

Whenever my mind and emotions begin to get the best of me, I always come back to Philippians 4:6,7. First, I pray and commit my need to the Lord (verse 6), then I claim and confess the promise of verse 7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (my) heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Brethren, take your discouragements to the Lord and claim His peace.

(C)  A Time To Go To The Lord For Refreshing. When the way becomes too hard and tiresome, my friends, go into the presence of the Lord and seek His refreshing and renewing strength. Instead of getting bitter and angry at God for allowing all these things to come upon you, go to God and ask God for grace and mercy and strength.

God’s way may be hard and demanding, but He’s promised to give you strength for the way: He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31).

In other words, if you’re faint and weary, you can go to God for the strength to go on. And when God’s done with you, you’ll have the strength, you’ll have the courage, you’ll have the umph to go on: you shall run, you shall walk–without getting weary or faint. You say you’re discouraged and can’t go on? You don’t want to go on? Dear friend, go to God and you’ll get the want-go back!

When bad things are happening to you, you can go to God not only for strength, but also for wisdom as to how to handle a particular situation that’s troubling or discouraging you.

  • When the Israelites were ready to stone Moses because there was no water to drink, what did Moses do? He went to the Lord and asked for wisdom. And God, in turn, showed Moses what to do (Exodus 17:3-6).
  • When the Israelites were defeated at the battle of Ai, Joshua went to the Lord with his “Why, Lord?”  And God, in turn, showed Joshua what the problem was (Joshua 7:5-13).
  • When the Amalekites invaded Ziklag and took the women and children of Israel captive, David’s men talked about stoning him; they blamed him for what happened. And what did David do? He went before God’s presence and encouraged himself in the Lord. And God, in turn, showed David what to do (1 Samuel 30:3-8).
  • When Hezekiah received troubling news about his pending death, he cried out to God for mercy. And God, in turn, answered his cry and gave him an additional fifteen years to live (2 Kings 20:1-6).

In these and many instances, the great men of God went into God’s presence to seek His wisdom, counsel, and courage concerning the troubling things that happened to them. Brethren, it works the same way for you. When trouble strikes or threatens, go to God and let God direct and encourage you.

And while you’re in God’s presence, don’t forget to pray in tongues. You build up, edify, and strengthen yourself as you pray in the Holy Ghost. You may not understand how it works–the important thing is, it works!  As you do it more and more, I think you’ll find that praying in tongues is a really good way to get your mind off of the troubles: it helps you put things in proper perspective.

(D)  A Time To Concentrate On Enduring.  When discouraging things are happening to you, that’s not the time for criticism or complaining. Rather, it’s the time to die out, overcome, obey the Lord, and endure the trial or hardship. While it’s certain that tough things are happening to you or around you, I can’t help but feel that there’s bad things going on inside of you–bad things like,

  • you’re not wanting to go through the trial–that’s why you’re discouraged!
  • you’re not wanting to do what God is telling you to do–that’s why you’re discouraged!
  • you’re not dying out to people who are mistreating you or causing you some grief and hardship–that’s why you’re discouraged!
  • you’re not crucifying, putting away, and repenting of some lousy attitudes–that’s why you’re discouraged!

Brethren, when the way gets tough and discouraging, that’s the time to concentrate your efforts on enduring. What all is involved in enduring?

  • Instead of resisting the trial, submit to it. Concentrate on letting the trial do the work the Lord wants it to do in you.
  • Instead of resisting the persecution, face it and submit to it. Concentrate on letting the likeness and life of Christ shine through you. Determine to be Christ like in the way you respond to your persecutors.
  • Instead of running from what God wants you to do, die out to Self and obey the Lord. Get rid of the lusts, fears, or attitudes that are hindering and preventing you from obeying the Lord.
  • Instead of resenting and despising the Word of the Lord, admit the unscripturalness of your present opinions or beliefs and give them up. Concentrate on taking God at His Word and accepting what He has said in His Word as the ultimate standard of everything you believe.
  • Get rid of lousy attitudes. God, through the hardships of life, is exposing these   attitudes that have got to go. Concentrate on getting your attitudes right.
  • Take control of your tongue and keep it from complaining. Concentrate on learning to face life’s trials and hardships without complaining.

I’d like to say a final word on enduring by saying that enduring the trials and hardships of life means you endure them non-resistantly, without retaliating against those who are causing you so much grief. Human nature being what it is, it’s so easy to start thinking of ways to get even with the people who did you wrong; you start devising ways to repay them, you wish and pray that bad things would happen to them. This, brethren, is not the spirit of Christ (Luke 9:51-56). If there’s any retaliating or judging to be done, let God do it–that’s His business, not yours.

When Moses asked the king of Edom if the Israelites could pass through his land, the king’s refusal was most unkind and unjustified–especially considering the fact that the Israelites were his brethren and relatives. In many respects, the king’s refusal and insistence in this matter was the cause of the Israelites’ complaints and discouragement. But the Lord would not allow them to take revenge against the Edomites: Meddle not with them (Deuteronomy 2:5). This word ‘meddle’ means ‘to stir up strife or to engage oneself in strife against another’. In other words, the Lord forbade His people from antagonizing or going to war with the Edomites.

Brethren, what other people have done to you is, without question, unkind, unjustified, and unchristian; what they have done has truly caused you much anguish and trouble. But the unjustifiableness of their conduct does not justify vengeance on your part; you are still under Christ’s command to recompense to no man evil for evil…Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath (Rom. 12:17,19).  Learn, my brethren, to love, do good, forgive, and forget. You can’t be Christ-like without that.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, The 8th And Final Installment. Here is the key that will keep you above ground. With it, you can lock the door to the pit of discouragement and depression forever. You definitely want to be here.

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