Defeating Discouragement

Published August 6, 2017 by LPCOC in Bulletin

There are difficulties in this life that can get out of control fast. The problem causes another problem which contributes to the first problem, causing the whole situation to spiral downward. Take for example excessive weight gain. (No, I am not thinking about any particular person here, stop it!) Gaining the weight makes you less active – you have to lug the extra weight around and it makes you tired. Being less active causes more weight gain. More weight gain makes you less active. Being less active . . . well, you get it. Getting out of a spiral like this takes an enormous amount of energy and will, and it often requires outside help.

Discouragement can also cause this kind of spiral. As people become discouraged their personality changes. Discouraged people don’t like themselves. They become pessimistic. Perhaps the problem was caused by loneliness or a hunger for attention. But now think about what can happen. Someone is lonely so they become more negative. Being more negative drives people away. When people are driven away the loneliness increases, which leads to more negativity, which drives more people away, and so on and so forth. When people hunger for attention they may act out in obnoxious ways, which leads to less attention, which leads to more acting out . . . and so on and so forth.

I think the devil loves it when we are stuck in this kind of spiral. We become depressed and are largely ineffective in doing God’s work. (Christianity is not very compelling when the Christian seems miserable all the time.) So God calls us to lend a hand to those falling down this cycle of despair. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). We need to tell people that “nobody cares about me” is a lie! That is a deceit of the devil. We need to tell them “I’m not good for anything” and “I’m worthless” are lies. God’s Word teaches us these things aren’t true. You might not always feel like helping, and the other person might make it hard, but encourage one another daily anyway. Fulfill God’s command by pulling people out of the spiral and setting their feet on the solid, positive truths of God’s Word.

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