Sometimes things seem stacked against us. I jotted these notes to myself when I was a youth pastor in the midst of a discouraging season. I’m not sure whether they were completely my own thoughts, or if they had their source from some writer or teacher. I think they still make sense.
- Reality check first. Acknowledge what it is that caused your condition. Be real. Sin? Failure? Circumstances? Whatever it is, be real about it. It is amazing how we lie to ourselves
- Focus directly upon the Lord rather than the odds against you. So often we are looking more at our situation, at what others have, at what has been done to us, or at we just get caught up in ourselves.
- Declare your allegiance. “I can with the Lord” (Philippians 4:13).
- No matter the odds, remember that God often seems to prefer working through small things, through a “remnant”, through that which is weak … those who are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
- Don’t get arrogant when God uses your life for his good … when his plans come to light … when he overcomes the odds.
Discouragement is “disenchanted egotism.” “Things are not happening in the way I expected they would, therefore I am going to give it all up.” To talk like that is a sure sign that we are not possessed by love for Him, but only by love for ourselves. Discouragement always comes when we insist on having our own way.
(Chambers, O., & McCasland, D. (2008). The Quotable Oswald Chambers).