Never Give Up; Overcoming Discouragement

Sermon PastorBryan May 5, 2019

 

Introduction

Most of us are no strangers to discouragement. Many have experienced times when discouragement has turned into despair and hopelessness. The main trouble with despair is that it’s self fulfilling. People who fear the worse tend to invite it.

Every person who’s ever lived has dealt with discouragement from time to time. We all experience days when we just don’t feel like carrying on or that we feel depressed, defeated or fearful. I have days when I just don’t want to be a Pastor, I have days when I feel like maybe God made a mistake or honestly I just don’t care if he made a mistake or not I just don’t want to do it.

Why is it you can seemingly do all the right things, read your Bible every day, pray, and help others but still deal with discouragement? It’s because you can’t live in this world that is consumed by sin without suffering its ongoing effects. I’m not talking about you personally living in sin or participating. I’m talking about the natural effects it has by its very existence in this world. It’s kind of like second hand smoke. You don’t have to actually smoke a cigarette to suffer the effects of others smoking. The Bible teaches us that we fight an ongoing spiritual warfare and the battle is in our minds.

What makes the difference is what we do with that discouragement. Where do we seek shelter, refuge and strength? Do we look to God to rejuvenate us or do we slip further and further into despair?

Today we will take a look at the Prophet Elijah and how this great man of God suffered discouragement and what we can learn from a moment out of his life.

Scripture – 1 Kings 19: 1-10

Elijah Escapes from Jezebel

19 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a [a]broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an [b]angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on [c]coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the [d]angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

Historical Information – Elijah
  • Hebrew Prophet
  • Lived: 9th Century B.C
  • Showed up during King Ahab’s reign
  • Proclaimed the coming drought as punishment for worshiping Baal (the god jezebel was promoting)
  • His role in history is significant as one who helped direct the Jews back to God.

5 Causes of Discouragement

  1. Emotional Stress: Chapter 18 –  Elijah had just experienced an incredible confrontation with Ahab and the prophets of Baal. He was now faced with the threat to his life by Jezebel.
  2. Physical Exhaustion: Chapter 19 Verses 3, 4 – Elijah ran for his life and went a great distance adding exhaustion to his troubles.
  3. Personal Opposition: Verse 2 – Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life and he was truly in danger.
  4. Significant Achievement – He had just experienced a great victory. Discouragement often comes after a triumph.
  5. Basic Fear – He was afraid of what Jezebel would do to him.

The Process of Discouragement

  • Flight
  • Negative Thinking
  • Withdrawal
  • Blame Shifting
  • Improper Comparison

The Cure for Discouragement

  1. Rest
  2. Renew Spiritually
  3. Link up with other Christians/ Talk to someone
  4. Make a choice to move ahead

Some of you may be dealing with discouragement, disappointment, depression or even hopelessness right now. Maybe you don’t see things getting better or maybe you just don’t see hope in the future. Maybe you just have some pain from a loss or failure that just won’t go away. Let me tell you first of all never choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Elijah got out into the desert and he pleaded with God to take his life. God’s responded by sending help and allowing him to rest and get nourishment.

The Psalmist put it like this, “Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5). God promises us hope for a future.

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