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Friday, June 30, 2023

Three Ways to Overcome Discouragement

In Nehemiah 4:14 it says, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious.” (NLT)

How can I defeat discouragement in my life? By following Nehemiah’s example.

In Nehemiah 4, there are three things I can do to resist discouragement.

Reinforce weak areas. Make an honest assessment of where I am most spiritually vulnerable (anger, lust, pride, or something else)? What are my weak areas?

When Nehemiah heard that his enemies wanted to attack the Jews who were helping to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, he “stationed people behind the lowest sections of the wall, at the vulnerable areas. [He] stationed them by families with their swords, spears, and bows” (Nehemiah 4:13 CSB). Nehemiah did his homework. He knew where the city’s most vulnerable spots were, and he developed a plan. What are areas in my life that also need some reinforcement? 

To resist discouragement, we’ll need to reorganize and reorder a few things. For example, if in debt, reorganize your budget. Out of shape? Reorder your lifestyle. Don’t give up, instead reinforce them.

Refocus on God. We can overcome discouragement when we stop focusing on what we don’t want to happen and start focusing on God’s promises. Often we are as discouraged as we want to be or as happy as we want to be. Nobody is forcing us to be discouraged.

When Nehemiah became aware of the people’s anxiety, he stood up and said, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious” (Nehemiah 4:14 NLT). He reminded them of God’s goodness and power.

Don’t re-play discouraging images in your mind. Instead, choose to think about God. Jonah 2:7 says, “When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord” (TLB).

Fight back. We are all engaged in a spiritual battle? The Bible says, “The devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him” (1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV). We won’t be able to resist the enemy with passivity. We have to fight for what we know God wants us to do with our lives.

Nehemiah 4:14 continues, “Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (NLT) And do you know what happened next? “When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall” (Nehemiah 4:15 NLT). God strengthened them to continue the work.

When we reinforce weak areas, refocus on God, and learn to fight back, we’ll be better equipped to resist discouragement.