Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Discouraged Christian

I know several people who have been discouraged and frustrated in their Christian walk. I have even felt that way myself at times. Maybe you’re there right now…with no desire for God, or His Word, no desire to go to church or be around other Christians…maybe even no desire to live. From experience, I can tell you, the only place to go if you are in this place is to the Word of God and the God of the Word.

Read from Hebrews 11 (the great chapter on faith). If you look closely at the end of this chapter, you will see all types of things that the Jewish people suffered for their God. These things include, but aren’t limited to: mockings, scourgings, chains, imprisonments, stonings, being sawn in two, temptations, death by the sword, and homelessness.

Then the writer of Hebrews moves on in chapter 12 to show us that because of them, and their walk, and their testimony – we should be encouraged. I am certain that that is the context of this 12th chapter – to give us discouraged Christians hope that, as those who went before endured, so may we! Let’s look at what it says…

1 since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1-2 (NASB77)

Being an English major, I can see all types of imagery in this text. First we are to “lay aside every encumbrance.” The word “encumbrance” carries the connotation of a bulging or bending load that we are supposed to put down, or cast aside. Second we are to lay aside “the sin which so easily entangles us.” The word “entangles” reveals that sin is means of the evil one to catch us, confuse us, and complicate our walk with Christ. And then we are to “run with endurance the race….” The word “endurance” in the Greek implies hopeful cheerfulness, patience, or constancy.

The imagery then is centered around a runner in a race; he casts off things that weigh him down, he does not get entwined and entrapped by evil and sinful things, and he runs with hope, patience, and constancy. This all is done by focusing on Jesus (see Heb. 12:2). Look at the Christ!

There are 3 things about Him that we should know, in order to walk with victory instead of discouragement: 1.Who is He – “the author and perfecter of our faith.” He began our walk, and He’ll see it through. 2.What He Did – “enduring the cross.” He suffered much more than we ever will. 3.Where He is now – “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The fact that Christ is at God’s right hand, and is seated reveals His power as the Son of God. You cannot be a discouraged Christian for very long, once you follow the instructions of Hebrews 12!

37 Comments:

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Daniel Taylor said...

It happens to us all eventually. Yet God has the answer in the Bible. Praise His name! Thanks for the devotion!

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger puck001 said...

That was just what I needed to read and be reminded of this morning! Thank you!

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger Amy Ward said...

So good Jules. It is easy to end up as you describe. Thank you for the references and encouragement.

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This helped me today. Thanks.

 
At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE TRUTH IS WE MUST SURELY GO BACK TO HIM AND HIS WORD. HEWILL SURELY FINISH WHAT HE STARTED! LETS STAY STONG IN FAITH NO MATTER HOW BACD THINGS LOOK. EVEN IF NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING. HES WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES!!!! PRAISE BE TO JESUS. PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM!!

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger David said...

I've been a Christian for over thirty years and discouragement can and will likely happen - and it has happened to me at least two times in the last ten years. By God's good grace, I get out of it eventually. Tips: read God's word, keep going to church, keep praying DO ALL EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT. Exercise, eat right, sleep well. Take an "inventory" of yourself - is there any sin in your life? Ask God and he'll show you. Remember, the devil is your enemy and he will feed you lies. And talk to God a lot.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Leonard said...

Thank you for the timely and insightful word of encouragement.

 
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At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Ken said...

It seems to me that for this to be encouraging, one would also have to aspire to greatness, like a runner wanting to win or at least beat his previous best. Maybe most people are like that. I'm not. If I have ever really felt encouraged, it was too insignificant to remember. I got an anti-depressant 10 months ago. It's like a very subtle laughing gas. It makes me not care so much that my outlook is bleak and deteriorating. It is very frustrating that no other Christian I know can relate to me or explain why they are encouraged.

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger DJ said...

I understand, I am a teacher and I have no support of the church members, to say I struggle and it is a hard job gets a deer in the headlight look . Although when we gave money for the poor to them they are still sitting on it, so who is the active Christian? But my thought is that we are not to be GREAT, we are to lean on him every day, He loves us for that. Do not medicate yourself because you feel unworthy.

 
At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Ray said...

thank you for your input, I have been dealing with discouragement for a few months. I seem to have lost my desire. thanks again.

 
At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's comforting to know that i am not in this situation alone. Recently my regular Sunday School Teacher just stopped coming I attended classes and prayed about it. I completed my churches requirements to become the new teacher; I've been teaching rethe change gularly since January 2012 Today I saw the old teacher and was informed that someone else was actually considered to be the teacher. I haven't seen this person and I was told that approval was needed in order for me to be the teacher. Meanwhile the students have stated that they are enjoying the changes made.

 
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At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming from a alchoholic childhood and suffering 30 yrs of my own addiction and being delivered. I now at 55 yrs in this world, I get really discouraged when I deal with churches and people who often seem to have favorites in church, a real bad thing going on in churches today , favoritism , I was always the kid on the outside looking in !! Today as a christian when I loose focus of the plan of God in my Life , is when I get discouraged !! God has a plan for each of us and we have to find it !! By praying and seeking !! I really hate hearing this because I want to have the right to hang on to this morbid feeling I have...Im a converted baptist to UPC and have been baptised in the Holy Ghost and I might have a reason to feel discouraged but I dont have the right to !! I know the fix, and all I have to do is focus on him not outside things...Thanks so much for allowing me to share, this helped me find my own answer !! Be Blessed

 
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