Three Keys to Overcoming Destructive Discouragement
On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciple Peter denied Christ three times. Can you imagine how discouraged he was? “I’ve blown it,” he must have said. “At the moment He needed me the most, I let Him down.” Yet how did Peter react to his discouragement? He repented to God, and his relationship with Him was restored.
Judas, of course, betrayed the Lord with a kiss, exposing him to the authorities who came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. While there’s no doubt Judas was under satanic influence, I believe that had he turned to God and repented of his sin, he would have been forgiven as well. Yet what did Judas do as a result of his discouragement? He killed himself.
Like Peter and Judas, you can decide to either let discouragement dominate your thinking and actions, or you can choose to fight against its deceptive hold on your life. Here are three practical keys that will help you overcome the destructiveness of discouragement in your life:
Watch what you think about
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” This is more than just positive thinking. Thinking always precedes behavior. If your mind is disciplined, focused on the right things and submitted to God, your behavior will be focused and disciplined as well.
Be careful who you listen to
A great way to overcome discouragement is to spend time with people more mature than you are. Find someone who is further down the path than you are, someone who has experienced more than you have, and is trustworthy.
When you get discouraged, it’s easy to just sit down and stop when what you really need to do is get up and keep moving. I like the illustration of a large freight train. When it’s not moving, just a couple of blocks of wood placed under the front wheels will keep it from going forward. But those same blocks of wood are blown into a million pieces when that train is speeding down the track. It takes a great deal more energy to get us going when we’ve stopped, and it’s hard to overcome the obstacles placed in front of us, no matter how small they may actually be. But when we are moving and are building a little momentum, those same obstacles don’t stand a chance.
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