Stay encouraged in a discouraging world
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There is a silent fear that many of us have when heading out the door. I hope my car starts. I hope the bus is on time. I hope that I beat the train. I was rushing to get to church one Sunday and I put my key in the ignition, my car started but then it happened. It shut off! I started it again, and it just shut off. Oh great! Another thing to add to my list of hiccups called ‘life.’

Life can be very discouraging sometimes. But that doesn’t mean as Christians we have to be discouraged along with it. When you first except Christ, your eyes are opened to God’s grace and your need for Him. As our walk grows, we realize that we’re not free from experiencing the struggles of life. The question is, who are you going to turn to and what are you going to do when facing these difficulties? Will you be encouraged in the faith or quit when life’s terrain isn’t so easy?

 

You can turn on the news, stand at the pump, look at the unemployment rate and know that things are very discouraging. We can even think about our own situations and it can bring about discouragement. If we’re not careful, it can also bring about depression. But how can we, believers of Jesus Christ, be encouraged, stay encouraged and encourage others? Here are some ways that I believe are crucial to being and staying encouraged.

Prayer

Prayer is crucial to the Christian walk. It is how we communicate with the Father. The Bible even talks about praying without ceasing (1st Thess. 5:17). We should be encouraged when we can go to the Father to tell Him our needs and our hurts, and know that He is listening and He cares (Psalm 10:17). Another encouragement through prayer, is the fact that you know that others are praying for you. It shows that you are not alone. Having the ability to pray for someone else is encouraging as well, as you put aside yourself, in lieu of someone else’s needs.

Get connected with a solid community

The Body of Believers. It is one of the most, if not THE most important thing in your Christian walk. The first thing that I was told to do when I went to college was to find a solid church and community. The community of believers are a great asset to staying encouraged in a discouraging  world. They keep you accountable, ask you questions, pray for you, challenge you, but most of all encourage you.

Hebrews 10: 24-25   ’24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’

Hebrews 3:13 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.’

I know first hand of how impactful a solid community is. I have always been encouraged by their stories and ability to trust in the Lord. I know that I will always have a group of individuals that I can call and talk with. I can build with them, ask for prayer and even godly counsel. That is an encouragement within itself. If we’re not surrounded by solid believers it’s harder to grow in the Lord.

Read your Bible/ Meditate on the word

It’s kind of simple really. Read your Word. But I know that when you’re discouraged, that’s the last thing that you want to do. We have to change that and let it be the first thing we do. Reading God’s word and meditating on it keeps us connected with Him. It uplifts us and helps us trust in Him. When doubts and discouragement surround us, we can lean on the scriptures to be our guide. There are many things around us that can discourage us, but God’s word is true and powerful. There is something about a timely word that we hold on tight to, to get us through our week. Encouragement lies within God’s word.

Read a commentary or book (about encouragement)

There is something about hearing someone’s testimony that drives us to want to be and do better. It encourages us. Challenges us. Reading a commentary or book about encouragement or something close to it will help you get out of a slum. We think that if they can do it, I can do it too. I’m currently reading John Piper’s ‘When I Don’t Desire God; How to Fight for Joy,’ and it has been a great encouragement to me. Fighting for joy and faith in Christ.

Serve within your local Church body

The biggest joy and encouragement that I’ve seen since walking with the Lord, is the ability to serve in your local church body. I have seen Pastors faces light up when they see someone giving their time and energy to benefit others. More than that, I know that the Lord is pleased to see that we are using the gifts/talents He has given us to impact and encourage the church body.

Whether you serve in the Children’s Ministry, Parking Ministry, Media Department or just pick up the trash left in the pews, you are being an encouragement and encouraging others to serve as well. If you don’t serve at your church, you can also volunteer with an organization in your community. You even feel good after it.

Get out of the House

This may seem like the least understandable when it comes to being encouraged in a discouraging world. It’s simple really. You can’t serve in your church or get connected with believers until you get out of the house. Go for a walk, exercise, look at God’s creation. It’s unbelievable how getting out of the house will help you with being encouraged. I can look at nature and be encouraged to write something. Getting out of the house helps you reevaluate things and helps you refocus.

Conclusion

These are some of the things that I’ve been using to encourage me. Though some days are better than others, I know that my hope is in Christ. There are going to be days when we are discouraged, but we must not remain in a slum but look to the victory of the cross.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Question

Do you find these tips helpful to encourage you? What are some ways that you stay encouraged in a discouraging world? Is it easy to do so?

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