David was one of those people who encountered discouraging situations and have successfully overcame it!

A group of students was once asked what the number-one issue was facing their generation. They didn’t say drugs, nor peer pressure, not even bullying. The number-one issue was the lack of encouragement.

No one is immune to discouragement!

The symptoms of discouragement are many: Loss of Passion, energy, focus, faith, boldness, vision, motivation and of course joy.

Discouragement can also be a doorway to darker thoughts and the temptation to escape in unhealthy and unholy ways.

David was an Israelite shepherd who ended up being the King of Israel.

David gained great popularity when he killed Goliath, the Philistine giant with a rock and a sling.  As the women danced, they sang, “Saul has slain his thousands; and David his tens of thousands.”  1 Samuel 18:7. Saul became jealous of David and tried to murder him several times.  David decided to flee for his life and was hiding in caves in the deserts of Israel and finally went into hiding in Philistine.  A Philistine king made him the ruler of the city of Ziklag.  David became a royal servant of the king of Philistine – he went to war and fought many battles in defence of the king and his territory.  One day when David and his men were returning to Ziklag they saw the entire city burned down and their children and wives taken captives by the Amalekites.

Read: 1 Samuel 30:1-6

These men lost everything! They wept aloud until they had no strength left to week!  They started blaming David and in fact wanted to kill him.  On top of his loss, David was about to be killed by his own me.  He had no were to turn to.  It was a very discouraging moment.  However, David decided to encourage himself in the Lord. He didn’t stop there – he prayed to God, inquired Him for direction and God gave Him a clear direction.  David and his men pursued their enemies and manage to rescue their wives and children.

Discouragement could be an indication that we are in a real spiritual battle.  When we are in some desperate and hopeless situations, the enemy will take an advantage to discourage us.

Just like David, you may look left and right and may find no one to turn to.

The battles and warfare recorded in the Old Testament were the foreshadows of the spiritual warfare that we are facing in the Church Age.   Although, the Israelites were involved in physical battles; in the New Testament God’s church is rather involved in a spiritual battle that involves spiritual forces (Ephesians 6). Unfortunately, many Christians do not know when they get into spiritual warfare.

Spiritual battles are real! No one is excluded – Read: 1 Peter 5:8; John 10:10; John 16:33

Satan brings trouble so that we will start to doubt God’s Goodness and God’s Faithfulness.

To overcome discouragement, we have to do two things:

1. Take up the Shied of Faith
FAITH is one of the Armour of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:16) that protects our minds and hearts from the flying darts.

The shield of faith goes down if we doubt the Goodness of God.

When you face life crises always Satan attempts to make you doubt the goodness of God. 
He will say to you, “If God is a good God why would He allow this to happen to you?”
He will say to you, “God doesn’t care about you; He doesn’t like you; He is punishing you; why do you bother serving Him or worshiping Him.”

The moment we lose faith in God’s goodness; we loss hope in God.  Immediately, discouragement starts to take root in our lives.

We have to be secure in in God’s Love – He loves us dearly. He is not angry with us anymore, because He has sacrificed His Son on our behalf 2000 years ago (1 Corinthians 5:17-21).  There is no evil in God; He doesn’t tempt you with evil (James 1:13). He has a wonderful plan for our lives (Jeramiah 29:11).  When we get in to difficult situations – it is important to fight back the arrows of the enemy by this great truth that God is good!

It is ok to lament! It is ok to express our heartache and frustrations to God.  David did the same thing, but we have to keep trusting in God despite how we feel and what we go through.

The shield of faith goes down when we doubt the faithfulness of God.

Discouragement inflicts our heart and mind when our breakthroughs delay and we don’t receive any help or answers from God.   We often become impatient and get frustrated by the delay.  That is when the enemy plants thoughts of discouragement.  
 
David had great foundation in his belief about the faithfulness of God.

Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection”.

In other words, David had zero doubt about God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness.  David believed God will bring to fulfilment all that He had promised.

David always remembered how God rescued him from the lions and bears, and how God helped him to kill Goliath.  That is why David was able to encourage Himself.

Satan cannot take away our faith if we don’t doubt God’s goodness and his faithfulness.  This is the only way to overcome discouragement.

The shield of faith protects our minds and our hearts!

These are the parts of you that the enemy wants to attack daily – your mind (the seat of your thoughts) and your heart (the seat of your emotions).  When your faith collapses your brain starts to produce negative thoughts as a result you start to experience discouragement.

Satan is after your mind and your heart!  Is your soul filled with discouragement? It is time to renew your mind with God’s truth – that God is good – there is no evil in Him; He loves you and He has great plans for your life.

Replace your taught with these truths and your mind and your heart will be full of peace and joy.

Resist the enemy with this great truth daily: God is good & God is faithful no matter what happens in my life.

That is why in 1 Peter 5 we are reminded that God cares for us.  And in v.9 Peter said, “Resist him (Satan), standing firm in the faith”.  David stood firm in the faith.  Don’t allow Satan to lie to you that God doesn’t care about you or doesn’t love you.  Don’t allow Satan to lie to you that God is not faithful.  Remain faithful to your Heavenly Father, you will have peace and joy in your heart and your mind.

Just like David it is ok to moan and lament about your pain, but at the end remember God’s goodness and faithfulness. Don’t let the enemy to take away your faith by planting doubts into your mind.

2. Seek God’s guidance in prayer.  
When David faced discouragement the first thing he has done was to encourage himself.  He didn’t stop there, but he inquired God for a solution.

James 5:13: “13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray”. \

Paul reminds us to pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  It is in prayer that we receive creative ideas.  The Spirit of God often points us to a way out from our trials (1 Corinthians 10:13).    
Discussion Questions
  1. Have you ever experienced discouragement? Can you share how you overcame? 
  2. Two people might be facing identical problems but they may react differently to their situations – why is that? 
  3. Have you ever doubted God’s goodness and faithfulness?  How can we be sure that God is good and faithful? 
  4. Why do we have to pray when we feel discouraged?  


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