Long winter months and difficult seasons of life can take their toll on us.
They can lead to a state of discouragement. It’s easy to become discouraged in this broken world.
When we find ourselves under waves of discouragement, we can end up in a deeper state of despair.
Discouragement always involves a loss of perspective and of courage. Dis-courage is a dis on courage.
Discouragement can take the motivation out of life for even the little things. It’s a loss of heart.
I know what it feels like to battle times of 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 can 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 mundane earthly existence to 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 and love to us in all that He has done for us. What we learn about God and his plan for us, 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 the 5 provisions God made for you in Christ listed below. These are found in Romans 5:1-3. Make sure to 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.