I am currently sitting at my home desk struggling to keep focused on completing the tasks that are staring at me from my to-do list. Have you ever felt tired and overwhelmed to the point that you just can’t seem to make any progress?
I have! Today, I even wrote this at the top of today’s list simply so I could cross something off the list and feel as though I accomplished something:
- Make Coffee
- Drink Coffee
I don’t know about you, but there are days in which I just feel like I am making no forward progress; there are days when I feel like I failed as a husband, dad, and Christian. I try so hard to be intentional about praying with my wife, reading The Jesus Storybook Bible with my kids, spending time in scripture, and praying for the church only to be followed up with me being short with my wife and annoyed with my kids, feeling distracted by anxiety and stress while I am attempting to pray and read the Bible.
The truth is, it’s easy to be discouraged. It’s easy to give up and just sit in front of the TV and binge watch the Office on Netflix for the 25th time.
I think all of us are tempted with discouragement. Despite how easy it is to give in to the temptation to wallow in it, I think we should fight it! Here’s why.
Discouragement has a high price tag. It not only depletes us of energy, but it consumes our time. It shuts the door on all of the things we need to do and are called to do simply because we do not want to face the tasks or the people that God has called us to complete and minister to.
And here’s the crazy thing, it is more contagious than a cold. And if you aren’t careful to fight it in your own life, there’s a good chance your negativity will weaken your faith as well as others. So what do we do? We run to Jesus.
We take off in an all-out sprint to Jesus! Jesus does not want us to be discouraged. I would even argue that he commands us to not be discouraged. Listen to what Jesus says to His disciples just before what probably was the most discouraging experience of their lives, Jesus’ brutal death. Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1).
Notice Jesus’ words “let not.” Those are not the words your mom used when you were sick to comfort you. “Let not” is a command. Jesus knew His boys would be afraid and would be tempted with discouragement. Jesus knew that things were going to get dicey as if everything they learned and worked towards for three years imploded overnight.
What did Jesus expect of them? To be afraid? To be discouraged? No! Jesus expected them and He expects us to believe!
Jesus continued in John 14:1 and said, “Believe in God; believe also in me.” In other words, don’t let your hearts be ruled by what you see. Let them be ruled by what I promise you. Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me.
Friends, this is what He is saying to you and to me today. I love what John Piper says about discouragement, “Think of discouragement as your faith being choked. When you’re choking, it’s not the time to plop down in front of the TV with a plate of comfort food to medicate your melancholy. You need to dislodge the obstruction so you can breathe. You need to fight for life. You may need to get someone to give you the Heimlich.”
(Side note, I find this quote funny because I can’t picture John Piper sitting in front of a TV gorging himself. Can you?)
I believe that the scriptures are the ultimate place to turn to in any circumstance but most definitely during times of discouragement. God’s Word is the ultimate discouragement breaker! If discouragement was a brick wall, then the scriptures are the giant Kool-Aid man from the ’90s. Alright, that was a stretch, but here are a couple of verses for you to rest in today.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:35, 37).
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).