Why is it that post holiday blues and the long winter months make us vulnerable to feeling down?
Sooner or later, we all battle feelings of discouragement. It’s easy to become discouraged in this broken world.
Discouragement becomes dangerously debilitating when it becomes despair. Dis-courage is a dis on courage. It also always involves a loss of perspective. We leave the blessings out of our perspective and only see through the dark lens of life.
Discouragement can take motivation out of life – even for the little things. It’s a loss of heart.
I know what it feels like to battle discouragement. This is why I believe that encouraging discouraged people requires more than superficial hype. Simply telling someone that it’s not as bad as she thinks or that things will get better soon easily sound like empty words.
So where do we turn to be encouraged? One of the roles of Scripture is to give encouragement.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:3-4).
The encouraging truths in Scripture move us from the horizontal maze of earthly existence to profound vertical connections with our Creator and Redeemer. Scripture takes us from the temporal world of time to the eternal realities of life with the eternal God.
Dislodging discouragement is possible when we pause long over the great truths about God’s amazing grace. Meditating on (and singing about) His love and all that He has done for us lifts our hearts. We’re able to join the apostle Paul and confess that,
“We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:16-18).
An example of the kind of encouragement we find in Scripture is found in 5 provisions God made for us in Christ. These are listed in Romans 5:1-3. Personalize each one and offer thanks to God for his gift to you.
- Justified: declared innocent of all charges justly leveled against those who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (D. Moo).
- Peace with God: a reconciled relationship of peace with God for powerless, ungodly sinners who were enemies of God (See: vv. 6-10).
- Access: continual enjoyment of God’s presence. You have access to God! (cf. Hebrews 4:14-16).
- Grace: as a realm in which we stand (3:23-24). Grace reigns (5:21). We are under grace (6:14).
- Hope: of the glory of God (v.2) – joyful confidence in the provision of God in Christ — even in our sufferings (v.3) Share this with others who need a little encouragement.