A man who is too afraid to admit his fears is a man who will never overcome them. Fear isn’t all bad. It actually points to our imperfect fragility. We are needy people in need of a greater power than ourselves. It reminds me I’m not a superhero. I’m not a Christian because I’m strong and have it all together; I’m a Christian because I’m weak and admit I need a savior. Until I can face my fears and allow them to be conquered, I’m a slave to them.
It’s everywhere, and I think everyone has it in their lives. But for some people it’s not apparent, which is even more dangerous. Discouragement is a huge source of fear. Literally, it means to have a lack of courage. It’s not always recognized as fear because it feels like hopelessness with a side of cynicism. We might even call it depression because it can be an accumulation of fears and seem vague and undefined. Discouragement can lead to being stagnant and wanting to give up. And giving up gives way to vulnerability to all sorts of temptation.
When we feel discouraged, we must confront the discouragement head on. This is where times of meditation, prayer and introspect serve a vital purpose. If you don’t realize who you truly are right now, you miss out on who you’re supposed to become. It’s so easy to think that if life is going well, then you’re doing everything right. That’s when the Devil has you right where he wants you. Satan strives to make things seem as good as possible to us so we’ll become complacent.
Idle minds are the Devil’s playground
Jesus didn’t die to leave us feeling defeated and discouraged. The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of victory. He won victory for us when He “despised the shame, looking to the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). So we must always walk in that, knowing that we don’t fight for victory. Rather, we fight from the victory. And when we don’t feel that in our souls or become tired of fighting, we must take Hebrews 12 to heart. “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)
We MUST confront the discouragement head on. But how do we do this?
- We ask “Why are you downcast, O my soul?” (Psalm 42:5). Press for an answer.
- We preach to our souls to “hope in God” (Psalm 42:5). We are what we believe we are, so don’t listen to discouraging self talk. Preach courage building promises instead.
- We “lift up our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12). We pick up our Bibles and get on our praying knees and pursue the strength that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11)
- We make straight the paths for our feet (Hebrews 12:13). Get out of the mental or physical places that make us stumble.
- We strive for holiness (Hebrews 12:14). We walk in holiness through obedience of faith (Romans 1:5). Walking by faith isn’t an easy task. We strive for it daily (Hebrews 4:11). It’s a fight (1 Timothy 6:12). God sanctifies and transforms us through all of the fighting He requires from us.
Exercise the promises of God when discouragement rears it’s ugly head. In those moments, we see the power of God.