No matter how you may try to avoid it, life happens. When it does you can find yourself in a place of struggle; in the midst of mistakes and failures; trying to rebuild what you may have lost; or at the very least, finding the strength to just keep going. Sometimes life can deliver a punch so hard it can take the fight right out of you and you become totally and completely discouraged.
Discouragement is often the gap that separates our expectation from our reality.
Hebrews 10:23 tells us to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised… We know that God will do exactly what He said. We know if He has given you a promise it will surely come to pass. However, until the expectation becomes reality there are always people more than willing to use any opportunity they can to plant seeds of negativity. They will tell you, “You’ll never make it.” “Do you really think God can use you?” “You’ll never have a good name.” “You’ll never have your dream.” “It’s not going to work.” Words. Words delivered to discourage you. Words designed to destroy you because discouragement handled incorrectly becomes demise.
Words may be the enemy’s oldest weapon against you, but know God will never fail!
I don’t know of a greater example of this than the story of Nehemiah. In short, the Babylonian army had overtaken the people of God. The city was left in ruins and the temple had been devastated. But God had promised the people earlier that the Babylonian empire would fall. When it did they received word they could rebuild the temple of God. There was only one problem, they had been through so much their hope, finances, resources and willpower were at an all time low. They were tired. The kind of tired that sleep doesn’t help.
God, in His faithfulness, knew what they needed and sent them a leader named Nehemiah. Nehemiah began to encourage them with positive communication. He created a plan to address the problem so they could regain their momentum. Nehemiah demonstrated the power of encouragement.
If Christ is really in us, then encouragement can surely help us to live out the gospel.When you’ve lost so much, including your willpower and your desire, it’s a crazy feeling. When you have no fight left, it’s easy to move into survival mode where your normal becomes “numb.” When you’re in the presence of people trying to keep you down, it’s not easy to get up. It’s not easy to straighten up when you’ve messed up. Nevertheless, you’ve come too far, you can’t die now and you’re not at liberty to quit. You need to know that, and so does someone else.
let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:…Hebrews 10:24-25.Nehemiah developed strategies and tools that silenced the voices of those trying to get the people of God to forget who they were and give up. They are the same strategies and tools we need for one another today. You may not know what someone else is going through, but encouragement is the key to caring. It’s the expression that will help somebody to keep going. It’s exactly what they need to lift their countenance, dry their tears and put their praise back on. Be intentional. Look for opportunities to encourage someone else. is a life changer!
I want to encourage you today in whatever you’re facing to remember that God sees, He knows, and He’s about to send you the help and provision you need to succeed. I pray that He fortifies your strength and reignites your passion for purpose. You’re too close to the finish line to stop now, and in spite of who’s waiting for you to fail, there’s somebody counting on you to win.
-Pastor Sheryl Brady