faith

What to Wear When You’re Discouraged

 

Do you know the ache of discouragement?

The ache that makes you want to quit, cry, or run away (or all three)?

Disappointment can stir it up, or failure, or unanswered prayers. We try, and try again. We love, step out in faith, stay faithful to the task, and the return is empty and void.

And the ache begins to grow.

It’s cousins with grief.

Aren’t Christians always happy?

Have we stepped out of God’s will if we aren’t?

No.

Jesus also knew sorrow, suffering, rejection, and I have a feeling he also knew discouragement.

The fact that Billy Graham fought discouragement makes me feel better. I love how he handled it. “Forgive me” or “Help me.”  Sometimes we need to ask forgiveness when we’re discouraged. we need to repent and change our way of thinking.

Biblical giants also experienced discouragement. One of them was Elijah.

He ran into the desert and sat under a broom tree. (1Kings 19)

“I have had enough Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

If you read all of 1 Kings 19 you’ll see that Elijah ran away because he was afraid and discouraged. He had done everything God told him to do, but his circumstances got worse.

The Enemy Is Ruthless

Discouragement can blind us to truth. It makes us believe we’ve failed.

Elijah thought he was the only one left who believed in the one true God. But there were seven thousand who still believed.

Discouragement disillusions us.

When we are discouraged and disappointed, we believe we are alone. 

Discouragement tells us God doesn’t care, or we aren’t good enough. We feel like God wants us to be miserable forever.

But none of that is true.

Discouragement loses its strength when I turn to God.

When discouragement and fear overshadowed Elijah, he ran away, but once he stopped running, he cried out to God, and God met him. I think we can learn from this story.

When we’re tired, frustrated, and discouraged:

1. Get away from the problem for a little bit. Take a walk. Go for a drive. Take a day off work. Get a babysitter so you can have a few hours away. Turn off the computer. Stop working on the project. Sit under a tree. 🙂

2. Cry out to God, “I quit!” I know, that seems to be the antithesis of this post, but often times we need to get out of the way and let God be God. He’s perfectly capable. He had Elijah’s problem all figured out. If we feel we’re banging our head against a brick wall, we need advice from God–we need to do it His way. That may require hands off.

3. Pray for His vision and truth. Ask God to help you see that you aren’t alone in your faith or your fight. Grab a Bible and ask Him to speak to you through His Word.

God is Gentle with Us

The rest of Elijah’s story is powerful. After sleep and food, he was sent to the mountain of God where God spoke to him in a gentle, quiet, small whisper. God wasn’t in the wind, or fire, or earthquake but a whisper.

And the voice said to him, “What are you doing here Elijah?”

Sometimes we are looking for God to do something really big. We’re expecting Him to blow us over or shake us up. He can do those things. But more often He whispers.

“What are you doing here?”

“Why are you discouraged, my friend?”

I’m here today to remind you that He’s got it. We are in the midst of a battle, but God is on our side. All we need to do is stand in our faith, but we need to wear the right armor to fight this tactic from the enemy called discouragement.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6: 10-11). 

What to Wear When Discouraged

Discouragement pierces our hearts like a flaming arrow if we aren’t prepared; therefore, we need to wear the armor of God.

  1. The belt of Truth.
  2. The breastplate of Righteousness.
  3. Good (News) Shoes
  4. Helmet of Salvation (Protect your thoughts!)
  5. Shield of Faith
  6. Sword of the Spirit (The Word of God)

God’s truth is the best place to go to when we are discouraged. Nothing can bring healing or give us the courage and stamina we need to keep on fighting the battle. Because the truth is the key, this week our Bible reading plan is all about the armor of God.

 

 

 

Sneak Peek:

Get the Printable.

Ephesians 6: 12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

  • What does it mean for us to “stand”?

Ephesians 6: 14,15: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

  • Truth can also be translated as “faithfulness”. The warriors belt held all his gear in place. How does “faithfulness” play an important role in our spiritual battles?

 

woman, mountain

Ephesians 6: 16:  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

  • What are some flaming arrows you’ve had to extinguish lately or what are some your currently fighting? What truth can snuff them out?

Ephesians 6: 17:  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

  • What happens when you begin to doubt your salvation?

Ephesians 6: 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

  • When you pray, do you ever feel your fighting God?  How does this change the way you view prayer?

Ephesians 6: 19,20: Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

  • Pray for you pastors, teachers, mentors, and the Christian authors and speakers who have influenced your faith for the better.

Don’t forget to grab the printable!

Don’t Do Faith Alone

 

The shield of faith is not just for personal protection. The Roman soldiers had a strategy of joining their shields together. If we join our shields—that is, strengthen each other with our faith, building up and serving as we are able—we will be able to take on any challenge. Lifehopeandtruth.com

Isn’t that cool! The shield was the piece of the armor designed to connect with others.  OUR faith is the same.. We are stronger together.

Studying Together LIVE

I’m looking forward to studying the battle gear with you. Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you.

 

Join us.

We are warriors.

Let’s fight.

 

Locking Shields,

Andy

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

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