Discouraged manDiscouragement rears its ugly head for many reasons. It is perhaps heaviest when we realize we’ve failed to properly represent Jesus Christ. Or worse, we may have even made Him look bad! As maturing Christians, we’re on a spiritual journey packed full of lessons in humility.

We also get discouraged when we fumble in our closest relationships. At times, we all struggle to communicate effectively with the ones we really love. Because we’re all “works in progress” our relationships will naturally go through periods of ups and downs.

This is especially true in marriage. We get angry, lash out with cruel words and we get frustrated, disappointed, and just plain discouraged. It’s also easy to get discouraged when we face unfair criticism — even mean personal attacks. These are particularly hurtful when they come from people we’re trying to love and serve.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22–25)

I believe He wrote that to encourage us, not to send us on a guilt trip. He also tells us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)

Satan seeks to destroy and disable. He lies and schemes and sets up obstacles to discourage us, trying in every way he can to make us ineffective for the Kingdom of God. “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

Paul faced many challenges in his ministry. He sometimes felt discouraged and disheartened, be he found solace in his relationship with Christ and his great hope — knowing God’s ultimate plan for his life. Paul wrote, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8–10)

Whenever life or relationships present a significant challenge, fight discouragement. Let’s step back and catch God’s perspective, gain strength from His Word, and put our hope in Him.

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:16–18

Personal Application

What kinds of things discourage you most? Why do you think that is?

What is your go-to approach when you feel discouraged? To what extent does your approach either feed or diminish discouragement? Practice the strategy that Paul provides in 2 Corinthians 4:16–18.

Jim Grassi image and signature  Jim Grassi, D. Min.

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5