Choose to be Encouraged, Not Discouraged
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God
— Job 19:25 – 26
Job was a good and righteous man who walked in the ways of the Lord. In fact, his righteousness prompted God to say of him, “There is no one on earth like him” (Job 1:8). God blessed Job for his righteousness, and so Job was referred to as “the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:3).
Yet Job endured unspeakable suffering. Though he had done nothing wrong, he lost everything—his family, his wealth, his reputation, even his health. If that weren’t enough, his wife and his friends offered him no real comfort. Job’s friends told him that he had suffered because of some hidden sin in his life.
Job is a stark Biblical example of a fact we need to understand: even those who are right with God will suffer. Will we allow the suffering to tear down our faith or build it up? These are our only choices. Job chose to trust God, his Redeemer, and he was rewarded for his faith (Job 19:25 – 26; 42:1– 6,10 – 17).
Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.
While disappointments are inevitable, discouragement is a choice. You do not have to yield to the devil’s debilitating whispers of doubt and fear or be trapped in self-pity.
During a very troubling time in Israel’s history, God directed Jeremiah to speak words of hope and encouragement to the disheartened exiles in Babylon: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). The people of Israel could avoid discouragement by remembering that God had wonderful plans for their future.
God is for us. He is not against us.
In Babylon, the Israelites sorted out their faith and rediscovered their deep need for the Lord. We must do the same. If we are ever going to reach our full potential, we must understand a very important truth: God is for us. He is not against us. He often uses trials to position us for greater blessing, and even in times of great disappointment, we can trust that he has our best interests in mind and will work all things out for our good. He knows how he wants to use the disappointment or hardship for our benefit, and he desires that we see him as our only source of salvation and blessing.
When you feel tempted to yield to discouragement, go to God in prayer. Tell him all you are feeling. God has an objective view of the situation. He sees the future and knows the direction your life will take. He also wants you to totally depend on him and not rely on the compliments of others, earthly success or worldly resources to make you happy. While disappointments will come—you live in a fallen world, after all—you can live above it by focusing your heart on Jesus Christ.
If you are in an emotionally or physically difficult spot right now, refuse to become discouraged. Ask the Lord to reveal his will and plan for your life. Commit yourself fully to him and obey him no matter what it costs you. If you take this approach, then God will provide for you in ways that far exceed human understanding.
The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, 2nd Edition, NIV
During his many years of ministry, Dr. Charles Stanley has faithfully highlighted the 30 Life Principles that have guided him and helped him to grow in his knowledge, service, and love of God. This study Bible features thousands of verse notes and study features to help you explore each of these principles in depth and learn how to make them a part of your everyday life.Learn More