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Dealing With Discouragement

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Dealing With Discouragement

TEXT: Nehemiah 4:6-15

INTRODUCTION:  I am going to start a series of messages entitled, “DEALING WITH THE SEVEN DEADLY D’s”.  All of us at some point and time have or will have to deal with one or more of these deadly D’s. Very quickly I want to list these deadly D’s for you.

  1. Dealing With Discouragement.
  2. Dealing With Defeat.
  3. Dealing With Disappointment.
  4. Dealing With Difficulty.
  5. Dealing With Delay.
  6. Dealing With Doubt.
  7. Dealing With Depression.

    I want to deal with the causes and cures of discouragement. Let me say first of all that discouragement is universal; no one is exempt from it. From the richest to the poorest all have to deal with times of discouragement. Saint and sinner alike have to deal with discouragement. I know that all of us would like to think that we are immune to discouragement, but the truth is we’re not.

    While we may get discouraged from time to time we must never allow discouragement to get a hold of us. There is a difference between you having discouragement and discouragement having you. When you are discouraged you are still in control, but when discouragement has you it has control. So we must never allow discouragement to get a hold in our lives. We must recognize it for what it is and deal with it through God’s word and God’s help under the leadership of the Holy Ghost. 

    Discouragement can be contagious.  If you are around someone that is deeply discouraged they can discouraged you if you are not prepared to deal with it. We can not isolate ourselves from those that are discouraged but we can insulate ourselves with the things of God that will protect us from it.

    While discouragement may be universal it is curable. We don’t have to stay locked in to a life style of discouragement. We must never allow ourselves to believe that we are beyond hope of deliverance form any one of these deadly D’s. They are all curable through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Let me define discouragement in my own words. Discouragement is loosing the desire and motivation to continue doing something that brings purpose and satisfaction to one’s life.  As we apply this to the Christian life and the church it simply means that one has lost the desire and motivation that they possessed win they first gave their heart life to God. There was a time when people were thrilled about going to church and working in the services of God. They derived a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from attending church and ministering to others. But as years went by they lost their desire and motivation to attend church any longer. I believe if that if we will take a close look at the book of Nehemiah we can discover some reason why.

    Nehemiah was on a mission to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. This mission was a man date from God. Nehemiah tells us that it was God that put it into his heart to take the long journey to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. Upon arriving at Jerusalem he surveyed the city; accessed the damage and put a plan of action into motion to rebuild the walls. He rallied the peopled together and told them what God had put in his heart and shared his vision with them and soon the work was under way. Nehemiah 4:6 tells us that they where half finished when discouragement showed up.

    Isn’t that the way that it always happens? We start doing something new filled with excitement and enthusiasm and about half way through discouragement sets in. We look at what we are doing and it looks like we are making little or no progress at all. It seems the more we work the less we accomplish. If we carefully study this chapter we can discover the causes and cures of discouragement. That the two things I want us to look at this morning;

I.           The Causes of Discouragement: vs 10-12

In these passages of scriptures we have four causes of discouragement. Let’s look at them.

A.        Fatigue Due To A Loss Of Strength: v 10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed

1.      The number one cause of discouragement is fatigue. They were just plain worn out. They had worked a long and hard for an extended period of time.  They were physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. They were tired, weary and worn down.  When you're exhausted it's hard to be on a spiritual or emotional high.

2.      When does fatigue usually set in?  When does discouragement set in?  v. 6 "So we rebuilt the wall until all of it reached half its height."  Fatigue and discouragement comes at the midpoint. Everybody's got energy when you start.  It's a new project, a new problem, a new solution.  But after awhile the newness of the project wears off.  You get bored, tired and discouragement sets in.

3.      When does the new ware off the car? When it’s half paid for. When do you get discouraged in remodeling a house? You become discouraged half way through the remodeling process. That's why so many people never complete anything.

4.      It happens after you have worked hard and long and it seems that your accomplishments don’t match the energy or the effort that we put forth.

5.      We need to check our energy level; Spiritually, physically and emotionally to see if we need a little R&R.

B.        Frustration Due To A Loss Of Vision: v 10 and there is much rubbish;

Ezra 4:4-5 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose;

1.      The word frustrate means: to break, to annul, to do away, to fail, ineffective, made my void, to split, divide.

2.      That’s what your enemy wants to do. He wants to break you, Annul your work and service for God, to do away with you, to make you fail, to make you ineffective, to make your life void of any meaning, to split and divide the church. When you and I become discouraged and frustrated these are the things that happen to us.

However that is not God’s plan or purpose for our lives or our church. You and I as the children of God and as the church of God are destined to succeed. We are destined to overcome and be effective in what we do for the glory of God and for the good of others. Only when we allow ourselves to be overcome by discouragement to we fail. Praise God your failure does not have to be final.

We become frustrated when we loose site of our purpose and goal in life.  When we start looking around and all we can see is the rubbish and debris of what’s left to do we loose site of what’s most important in our lives, the vision that God gave us.

How many of you have the kind of job where your work is never finished?  You know what frustration's like.  You never quite get finished.  As soon as you finish a minor project you've got others.  Your work is never done.  That's frustrating and that can be a cause of discouragement.  What is the rubble in your life?  The rubble is the trivial things in your life that keep you from accomplishing your main goals.

C.        Failure Due To A Loss Of Confidence: v 10 so that we are not able to build the wall.

1.      A loss of confidence is a major contributor to discouragement. When you loose your strength you loose your ability to function. When you loose your vision you loose your ability to see how to function. Next you loose your confidence in your ability to function.

2.      The latter part of verse 6 tells us that the people had a mind to work. Another way to say it is they had a heart to work. Somewhere along the way they lost the their heart to continue to work. When we loose our confidence we loose our heart. You heard the saying; “They just don’t have the heart for it anymore.

3.      When we loose our motivation we become overwhelmed with the empty feeling that we will never accomplish what we set out to do.  Nothing can be more discouraging than the feeling of being a failure. I couldn’t finish what I started. I thought I had what it took to succeed.

4.      The question is:  How do you react to failure?   How do you respond to it when your plans collapse?  When things aren't accomplished on time and you don't meet your original goal?  Do you give into self pity?  Blame yourself?  Or do you start blaming other people?  Do you start complaining?  "It's impossible!"  Just about the time I think I'm going to make ends meet somebody moves the ends.

5.       Winners see failures only as temporary setbacks.

D.        Fear Due To A Loss Of Security: 4:11-12

1.      The final cause of discouragement is fear that comes as a result of insecurity. Listen to the first part of verse 11, “And our Adversaries said”.  When we stop listening to God we will start listening to our adversaries. Romans 10:17 say’s, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. On the other hand fear comes as a result of listening to the wrong voice…the voice of our adversaries.

2.      The background of this story is there were some enemies who didn't want the wall built.  They were doing everything they could to keep the wall from being built.  First they ridiculed the Jews, then they criticized the Jews, and finally they threatened the Jews -- "We're going to kill you!” No one likes to be ridiculed, criticized and threatened.

3.      They had lost their since of security because of the constant threat of danger. The enemy said, “They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work”. Verse 12 basically says that they will come from all sides. The workers were allowing what others said to produce fear in their hearts that produced a loss of security.

4.      You have to be careful to who you listen to. Not everyone giving you advise is interested your well-being and success. Fact is there are some that would love to see you fail and they would give anything for the opportunity to make you fall.

5.      If you constantly live near negative people and you constantly listen to negative thoughts and complaining, you're going to be infected by it.

6.      What fears are causing you to be discouraged this morning?  Fear of embarrassment?  Fear of failure?  Fear that you have to be perfect?  Fear that you can't handle the pressure?

7.      How do you know when you're discouraged because of fear?  Because you have an intense desire to run.  “I've got to get out of this place!  I've got to quit my job!”  You have this tremendous desire to escape to a more convenient place.  I've got to escape from the demands, the pressures.  I've got to get out of here.  Now that we have looked at the four common causes of Discouragement; Let’s look at:

II.         The Cure For Discouragement: 4:13-15

The antidote to overcoming discouragement is right here in this passage of scripture. Let’s look at the antidote.

A.        Rest and Relaxation For Your Body and Mind: 13

1.      Nehemiah had to move some people around and in order to do that he had to stop the work. Sometimes the best thing to do when you are discouraged is stop what you are doing to rest your body and mind. Often after a little rest and relaxation you can come back to the same task with a new approach. Just in case you are wondering if this is biblical. Let me show what the word of God has to say about it.

Psalms 127:2  It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

2.      Listen to the New Living Translation of this verse 2 It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Mark 6:30-31 30And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 31And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

3.      Eat right, get your sleep, exercise, and relax.  Balance.  Rest is so important God put it in the Ten Commandments.  He said, “every seventh day you need to rest”.  If you ignore it you're going to get discouraged.

4.      Take some time off and get away from the things that are bringing you discouragement. Take a break from the demands of life once and awhile.

B.        Reorganize Your Life: 13

1.      He said let's all get together in little groups of families and be support groups.  He didn't give up on the goal. He reorganized. 

2.      When you are discouraged, often it does not mean you're doing the wrong thing.  It simply means maybe you're doing the right thing but you're doing it in the wrong way.  The tendency when we get discouraged is to give up on the dream and say, "Maybe I'm doing the wrong thing."  No, it may be the right thing but you may be doing it in the wrong way.  God doesn't want you to give up on your dream.  He just wants you to reorganize.  Try a new approach. Try doing something different.

3.      Nehemiah unified their efforts toward a common goal. Family members had been scattered out all over the place on the wall and Nehemiah you that the work would be more effective if the families were working together. It’s a lot easier to concentrate when you know were the rest of the family members are and they are safe.

C.        Remember The Lord

Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible,

He redirected their attention toward God. Stop looking at the rubbish and start looking toward God. Remember we serve an awesome God. Remember the Lord. Sometimes If we are not careful we will forget the Lord in our times of discouragement. Three things you need to remember about God.

1.      Remember God’s Goodness To You In The Past.  Start making a list of all the things that have been good about life, all of the things that have been positive.  Remember God's goodness.  Make a list.  "Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." You remember God's goodness to you in the past.

2.      Remember God's Presence Is With You. Jesus says "Lo, I am with you always.  I will never leave you or forsake you."  You are never without Christ.  Open up your eyes and see God's closeness in the present.  There is no experience in life that you'll go through that God doesn't go through with you.  Recognize "I'm not in this alone".  Open your eyes.  He's with you right now. 

3.      Remember His Promise For The Future.  God’s word is full of promises. God says, "As your days are so shall your strength be. ... I will give you the power.... I will help you."  Over and over again God gives these promises for your strength in His word.  God promises in Isaiah 40:31, I will help you.  I will strengthen you.  I will see you through this.

Get your mind off the discouraging circumstance and get your mind on the Lord.  Psalm 119:25 "I am completely discouraged.  I lie in the dust.  Revive me by your word."  If you want the quickest antidote to discouragement get in the Word of God allow it to become your companion. 

In Jonah 2:7.  Jonah's at the bottom of the sea in the belly of a great fish and it says, “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD:”

D.        Resist The Discouragement:

Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

1.      Don't give into discouragement without a fight.  Don't just roll over and play dead.  Resist it.  Resist the discouragement. Remember why you’re in this. You are in it for your family. You are not in this just for the welfare of yourself: You are also in it for the welfare of your family and home.

2.      The Bible says in James 4:7–8 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  Let me paraphrase this scripture for you. James is saying surrender your life to God and then resist the devil and he will flee from you. Then you need to draw near to God and God will draw near to you. How do I draw near to God? James say’s by giving up your sinful deeds and by getting your heart and mind right with God.

3.      We are at war with these negative forces.  You do not have to be discouraged. It is a choice.  If you're discouraged it is because you are choosing to be discouraged.  "I'm just going to give in.  I'm going to have a little self-pity.  I'm going to choose to be discouraged."  You don't have to be discouraged.

E.        Return To The Work: 15

1.      They stopped long enough to rest, relax, reorganize, gain strength to resist and then went back to work. They were only half finished; there was still plenty of work to do.

2.      What God has called us to do He will enable us to do it through the power of His Spirit. Don’t leave the job half finished or leave it for someone else to finish. There is still plenty of work to do before the Lord Jesus Returns.

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